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The original of tliis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

From, the painting by Th. Pixis 
"" See page 367 




















Every now and tlien ia our reading we come suddenly 
face to face with first things, — ^the very elemental sources 
beyond which no maa may go. There is a distinct satis- 
faction in dealing with such beginnings, and, when they 
are those of literature, the sense of freshness is nothing 
short of inspiring. To share the same lofty outlook, to 
breathe the same high air with those who first sensed a 
whole era of creative thoughts, is the next thing to being 
the gods' chosen medium for those primal expressions. 

All this is not to say that the epic is the oldest form of 
literary expression, but it is the expression of the oldest 
literary ideas, for, even when the epic is not at all primitive 
in form, it deals essentially with elemental moods and 
ideals. Epical poetry is poetic not because it is metrical 
and conformative to rhythmical standards, — though it 
usually is both, — ^but it is poetry because of the high 
sweep of its emotional outlook, the bigness of its thought, 
the untamed passion of its language, and the musical flow 
of its utterance. 

Here, then, we have a veritable source book of the 
oldest ideas of the race; but not only that — ^we are also 
led into the penetralia of the earliest thought of many 
separate nations, for when the epic is national, it is true 
ta the earliest genius of the people whose spirit it depicts. 

To be sure, much of literature, and particularly the 
literature of the epic, is true rather to the tone of a nation 
than to its literal history — ^by which I mean that Achilles 
was more really a Greek hero than any Greek who ever 
lived, because he was the apotheosis of Greek chivalry, and 
as such was the expression of the Greeks rather than 
merely a Greek. The Iliad and the Odyssey are not merely 
epics of Greece — ^they are Greek. 

This is an age of story-telling. Never Tiefore has the 


world turned so attentively to the shorter forms of fiction. 
Not only is this true of the printed short-story, of which 
some thousands, more or less new, are issued every year in 
English, but oral story-telling is taking its deserved place 
in the school, the home, and among clubs specially organ- 
ized for its cultivation. Teachers and parents must there- 
fore be increasingly alert, not only to invent new stories, 
but — ^this even chiefly — to familiarize themselves with the 
oldest stories in the world. 

So it is to such sources as these race-narratives that 
all story-telling must come for recurrent inspirations. The 
setting of each new story may be tinged with what wild 
or sophisticated life soever, yet must the narrator find the 
big, heart-swelling movements and passions and thraldoms 
and conquests and sufferings and elations of mankind 
stored in the great epics of the world. 

It were a life-labor to become familiar with all of 
these in their expressive originals; even in translation it 
would be a titanic task to read each one. Therefore how 
great is our indebtedness to the ripe scholarship and dis- 
creet choice of the author of this "Book of the Epic" for 
having brought to us not only the arguments but the very 
spirit and flavor of aU this noble array. The task has 
never before been essayed, and certainly, now that it 
has been done for the first time, it is good to know that 
it has been done surpassingly well. 

To find the original story-expression of a nation's 
myths, its legends, and its heroic creations is a high joy — 
a face-to-faee interview with any great first-thing is a big 
experience; but to come upon whole scores of undefiled 
fountains is like multiplying the Pierian waters. 

Even as all the epics herein collected in scenario were 
epoch-making, so will the gathering of these side by side 
prove to be. Literary judgments must be comparative, 
and now we may place each epic in direct comparison with 
any other, with a resultant light, both diffused and con- 
centrated, for the benefit of both critics and the general 


The delights of conversation — so nearly, alas, a lost 
art! — consist chiefly in the exchange of varied views on 
single topics. So, when we note how the few primal story- 
themes and plot developments of all time were handled by 
those who first told the tales in literate form, the satis- 
faction is proportionate. 

One final word must be said regarding the interest of 
epical material. Heretofore a knowledge of the epics — 
save only a few of the better known — ^has been confined to 
scholars, or, at most, students; but it may well be hoped 
that the wide "perusal of this book may serve to show to 
the general reader how fascinating a store of fiction may 
be found in epics which have up till now been known to 
him only by name. 

J. Bbeg Esenwein 



foeewobd 15 

Gbbek Epics 17 

The Iliad 20 

The Odtsbbt 40 

Latin Ewcb 63 

The Abneid 64 

Feench Epics 81 

The Song op Roland 84 

aucassin and nicolette 101 

Spanish Epics 107 

The Cro 108 

PoKTUGCESE Epics 127 

The Ltjsiad 127 

Italian Epics r 137 

DrviNE Comedy 139 

The Inferno 139 

pubgatoby 160 

Pabadise 176 

The Oblandos 189 


Epics op the Bbitish Isles 214 

Beowulf 222 

The Abthubian Cycle 229 

Robin Hood 243 

— ~*Thb Faeme Queene 255 

PAT.AnTnii-. Lost 288 

Pabadise Regained 313 



Gekuan Epics 323 

The Nibelungenlied 328 

Stobt of the Hoi/T Geail 346 

Epics op the Netherlands 356 

Scandinavian Epics 360 

The Volsunoa Saoa 362 

Russian and Finnish Epics 372 

The Kalevala, oh the Land op Heroes 373 

Epics op Centkal Europe and op the Balkan Peninsula 392 

Hebrew and Early Christian Epics 395 

Arabian and Persian Epics 397 

The Shah-Nameh, or Epic of Kings 398 

Indian Epics 415 

The Ramatana 416 

The Mahabharata 431 

Chinese and Japanese Poetry 456 

American Epics 464 

Index 471 



Odin Bids Farewell to Brunhild before He Surrounds Her by a 
Barrier of Fire Frcmtispiece 

From the painting by Th. Pixis 
Oedipus Solving the Sphinx's Riddle 19 

From the painting by Ingres 
Achilles Disguised as a Girl Testing the Sword in Ulysses' Pack 21 

From the painting by Battoni 
Circe and Ulysses' Companions Turned into Swine 51 

By L. Chalon 
Venus Meeting Aeneas and Achates Near Carthage 65 

From the painting by Cortona 
Roland at Roncesvaux 92 

From the painting by L. F. Chiesnet 
The Palace Where Inez de Castro lived and was Murdered. . 132 
Dante Interviewing Hugues Capet 170 

From an Ulustraiion by R. Galli 
Hermione Finds Tancred Wounded 212 

From the painting by Nicolas Poussin 
The Body of Elaine on its Way to King Arthur's Palace 236 

By Oustave DorS 

Una and the Red Cross Knight 256 

From the painting by George Frederick Watts 

The Heralds Summon Lucifer's Host to a Council at Pande- 
monium 289 

By Gustave Dori 
The Dead Sigfried Borne Back to Worms 336 

From the painting by Th. Pixis 
St. John the Evangelist at Patmos Writing the Apocalypse 396 

From the painting by Correggio 
Sita Soothing Rama to Sleep 429 

From a Calaiita print 
The Monk Breaks into the Robbers' House to Rescue White 

Aster 460 

From a Japanese print 

"It is in this vast, dim region of mtth and 


BE EECALLED."— Hamilton Wright Mabie. 


Derived from the Greek epos, a saying or oracle, the 
term "epic" is generally given to some form of heroic 
narrative wherein tragedy, comedy, lyric, dirge, and idyl 
are skilfully blended to form an immortal vrork. 

"Mythology, which was the interpretation of nature, 
and legend, whioh is the idealization of history," are the 
main elements of the epic. Being the "living history of 
the people," an epic should have "the breadth and volume 
of a river." All epics have therefore generally been "the 
first-fruits of the earliest experience of nature and life on 
the part of imaginative races"; and the real poet has been, 
as a rule, the race itself. 

There are ahnost as many definitions of an epic and 
rules for its composition as there are nations and poets. 
For that reason, instead of selecting only such works as 
in the writer's opinion can justly claim the title of epic, 
each nation's verdict has been accepted, without question, 
in regard to its national work of this class, be it in verse 
or prose. 

The following pages therefore contain almost every 
variety of epic, from that which treats of the deity in 
dignified hexameters, strictly conforms to the rule "one 
hero, one time, and one action of many parts," and has 
"the massiveness and dignity of sculpture," to the simplest 
idyls, such as the Japanese "White Aster," or that ex- 
quisite French mediaeval compound of poetry and prose, 
"Aueassin et Nieolette." Not only are both Christian 
and pagan epics impartially admitted in this volume, but 
the representative works of each nation in the epic field 
are grouped, according to the languages in which they 
were com|>osed. 

Many of the ancient epics are so voluminous that even 
one of them printed in full would fill twenty-four volumes 



as large as this. To give even the barest outline of one 
or two poems in each language has therefore required the 
utmost condensation. So, only the barest outline figures 
in these pages, and, although the temptation to quote 
many choice passages has been well-nigh irresistible, space 
has precluded all save the scantiest quotations. 

The main object of this volume consists in outlining 
clearly and briefly, for the use of young students or of 
the busy general reader, the principal examples of the 
time-honored stories which have inspired our greatest poets 
and supplied endless material to painters, sculptors, and 
musicians ever since art began. 



The greatest of all the world's epics, the Iliad and the 
Odyssey, are attributed to Homer, or Melesigenes, who is 
isaid to have lived some time between 1050 and 850 B.C. 
Ever since the second century before Christ, however, the 
question whether Homer is the originator of the poems, or 
whether, like the Ehapsodists, he merely recited extant 
verses, has been hotly disputed. 

The events upon which the Iliad is based took place 
some time before 1100 B.C., and we are told the poems 
of Homer were collected and committed to writing by 
Pisistratus during the age of Epic Poetry, or second age 
of Greek literature, which ends 600 B.C. 

It stands to reason that the Iliad must have been in- 
spired by or at least based upon previous poems, since 
such perfection is not achieved at a single bound. Besides, 
we are aware of the existence of many shorter Greek epics, 
which have either been entirely lost or of whioh we now 
possess only fragments. 

A number of these ancient epics form what is termed 
the Trojan Cycle, because all relate in some way to the 
"War of Troy. Among them is the Cypria, in eleven books, 
by Stasimus of Cyprus (or by Arctinus of Miletus), 
wherdn is related Jupiter's frustrated wooing of Thetis, 
her marriage with Peleus, the episode of the golden apple, 
the judgment of Paris, the kidnapping of Helen, the 
mustering of the Greek forces, and the main events of the 
first nine years of the Trojan War. The Iliad (of which a 
synopsis is given) follows tiiis epic, taking up the story 
where the wrath of Achilles is aroused and ending it witii 
the funeral of Hector. 

This, however, does not conclude the story of the 
Trojan War, which ia resumed in the "Aethiopia," in five 
2 17 


books, by Arctinus of Miletus. After describing the 
arrival of Penthesilea, Queen of the Amazons, to aid the 
Trojans, the poet relates her death at the hand of Achilles, 
who, in hia turn, is slain by Apollo and Paris. This epic 
concludes with the famous dispute between Ajax and 
Ulysses for the possession of Achilles' armor. 

The Little Iliad, whose authorship is ascribed to sundry 
poets, including Homer, next describes the madness and 
death of Ajax, the arrival of Philoctetes with the arrows 
of Hercules, the death of Paris, the purloining of the 
Palladium, the stratagem of the wooden horse, and the 
death of Priam. 

In the Ilion Persis, or Sack of Troy, by Arctinus, in 
two books, we find the Trojans hesitating whether to con- 
vey the wooden steed into their city, and discover the 
immortal tales of the traitor Sinon and that of Laocoon. 
We then behold the taking and sacking of the city, with 
the massacre of the men and the carrying off into captivity 
of the women. 

In the Nostroi, or Homeward Voyage, by Agias of 
Troezene, the Atridae differ in opinion; so, while Aga- 
memnon delays his departure to offer propitiatory sacri- 
fices, Menelaus sets sail for Egypt, where he is detained. 
This poem also contains the narrative of Agamemnon's 
return, of his assassination, and of the way in which his 
death was avenged by his son Orestes. 

Next in sequence of events comes the Odyssey of 
Homer (of which a complete synopsis follows), and then 
the Telegonia of Eugammon of Cyrene, in two books. This 
describes how, after the burial of the suitors, Ulysses re- 
news his adventures, and visits Thesprotia, where he 
marries and leaves a son. We also have his death, a 
battle between two of his sons, and the marriage of 
Telemachus and Circe, as well as that of the widowed 
Penelope to Telegonus, one of Ulysses' descendants. 

Another sequel, or addition to the Odyssey, is found 
in the Telemachia, also a Greek poem, as well as in a far 
more modem work, the French classic, T616maque, written 

From the painting by Ingres 


by Penelon for his pupil the Dauphin, in the age of 
Louis XIV. 

Another great series of Greek poems is the Thebaa 
Cycle, which comprises the Thebais, by some unknown 
author, wherein is related in full the story of Oedipus, that 
of the Seven Kings before Thebes, and the doings of the 

There exisb also cyclic poems in regard to the labors of 
Heracles, among others one called Oechalia, which has 
proved a priceless mine for poets, dramatists, painters, 
and sculptors.* 

In the Alexandra by Lycophron (270 B.C.), and in a 
similar poem by Quintns Smymaeus, in fourteen books, 
we find tedious sequels to the Iliad, wherein Alexander 
is represented as a descendant of Achilles. Indeed, the 
life and death of Alexander the Great are also the source 
of innumerable epics, as well as of romances in Greek, 
Latin, French, German, and English. The majority of 
these are based upon the epic of Oallisthenes, 110 A.D., 
wherein an attempt was made to prove that Alexander 
descended directly from the Egyptian god Jupiter Ammon 
or, at least, from his priest Neetanebus. 

Besides being told in innumerable Greek versions, the 
tale of Troy has frequently been repeated in Latin, and 
it enjoyed immense popularity all throughout Europe in 
the Middle Ages. It was, however, most beloved in France, 
where Benoit de St. Maur's interminable "Roman de 
Troie," as well as his "Roman d 'Alexandre," greatly de- 
lighted the lords and ladies of his time. 

Bemdes the works based on the story of Troy or on 
the adventures of Alexander, we have in Greek the 
Thec^ony of Hesiod in some 1022 lines, a miniature Greek 
mythology, giving the story of the origin and the doings 
of the Greek gods, as well as the Greek theory in regard 
to the creation of the world. 

*A detailed account of Oedipus, Heracles, the Argonauts, and 
the " War of Troy " is given in the author's " Myths of Greece and 


Among later Greek works we must also note the Shield 
of Heracles and the Eoiae. or Catalogue of the Boetian 
heroines who gave birth to demi-gods or herora. 

In 194 B.C. Apollonius Rhodius at Alexandria wrote 
the Argonautica, in four books, wherein he rela,tes the 
adventures of Jason in quest of the golden fleece. This 
epic was received so coldly that the poet, in disgust, with- 
drew to Ehodes, where, having remodelled his work, he 
obtained immense applause. 

The principal burlesque epic in Greek, the Bactracho- 
myomachia, or Battle of Frogs and Mice, is attributed to 
Homer, but only some 300 lines of this work remain, show- 
ing what it may have been. 


Introduction. Jupiter, king of the gods, refrained from 
an alliance with Thetis, a sea divinity, because he was told 
her son would be greater than his father. To console her, 
however, he decreed that all the gods should attend her 
nuptials with Peleus, King of Thessaly. At this wedding 
banquet the Goddess of Discord produced a golden apple, 
inscribed "To the fairest," which Juno, Minerva, and 
Venus claimed. 

Because the gods refused to act as umpires in this 
quarrel, Paris, son of the King of Troy, was chosen. As 
an oracle had predicted before his birth that he would 
cause the ruin of his dty, Paris was abandoned on a 
mountain to perish, but was rescued by kindly shepherds. 

On hearing Juno offer him worldly jwwer, Minerva 
boundless wisdom, and Venus th6 most beautiful wife in 
the world, Paris bestowed the prize of beauty upon Venus. 
She, therefore, bade him return to Troy, where his family 
was ready to welcome him, and sail tiience to Greece to 
kidnap Helen, daughter of Jupiter and Leda and wife of 
Menelaus, King of Sparta. So potent were this lady's 
charms that her step-father had made all her suitors' 
swear never to carry her away from her husband, and to 
aid in her recovery should she ever be kidnapped. 

Ftotti the 'painting by Battoni 


Shortly after his arrival at Sparta and during a brief 
absence of its king, Paris induced Helen to elope with him. 
On his return the outraged husband summoned the suitors 
to redeem their pledge, and collected a huge force at 
Aulis, where Agamemnon his brother became leader of the 
expedition. Such was the popularity of this war that even 
heroes who had taken no oath were anxious to make part 
of the punitive expedition, the most famous of these war- 
riors being AchiUes, son of Thetis and Pelei^. 

After many adventures tke Greeks, landing on the 
shores of Asia, began besieging the city, from whose 
liimparts Helen watched her husband and his allies meas- 
ure their strength against the Trojans. Such was the 
bravery displayed on both sides that the war raged nine 
years without any decisive advantage being obtained. At 
the end of this period, during a raid, the Greeks secured 
two female captives, which were awarded to Agamemnon 
and to Achilles in recognition of past services. 

Although the above events are treated in sundry other 
Greek poems and epies,^ — ^which' no longer exist entire^ but 
form part of a cycle, — ^"The Iliad," accredited to Homer, 
takes up the story at this point, and relates the wrath of 
Achilles, together with the happenings of some fifty days 
in the ninth year. 

Booh I. After invoking the Muse to aid hiTn sing the" 
•wrath of Achilles, the poet relates how Apollo's priest 
came in person to the Greek camp to ransom his captive 
daughter, only to be treated with contumely by Aga- 
memnon. In his indignation this priest besought Apollo 
to send down a plague to decimate the foe's forces, and 
the Greeks soon learned from their oracles that its ravages 
would not cease until the maiden was restored to her 

Nor will the god's awaken'd fury cease, 

But plagues shall spread, and funeral fires increase, 

Till the great king, without a ransom paid, 

To her own Chrysa send the black-eyed maid." 

= AU the quotations from the Iliad are taken from Pope's trans- 


In a formal council Agamemnon is therefore asked to 
relinquish his captive, but violently declares that he will 
do so only in ease he receives Achilles' slave. This in- 
solent claim so infuriates the young hero that he is about 
to draw his sword, when Minerva, unseen by the rest, 
bids him hold his hand, and state that should Agamemnon's 
threat be carried out he will withdraw from the war. 

Although the aged Nestor employs all his honeyed 
eloquence to soothe this quarrel, both chiefs angrily with- 
draw, Agamemnon to send his captive back to her father, 
and Achilles to sulk in his tent. 

It is while he is thus engaged that Agamemnon's 
heralds appear and lead away his captive. Mindful of 
Minerva's injunctions, Achilles allows her to depart, but 
registers a solemn oath that, even were the Greeks to 
perish, he will lend them no aid. Then, strolling down 
to the shore, he summons his mother from the watery deep, 
and implores her to use her influence to avenge his wrongs. 
Knowing his life will prove short though glorious, Thetis 
promises to visit Jupiter on Olympus in his behalf. There 
she wins from the Father of the Gods a promise that the 
Greeks will suffer defeat as long as her son does not fight 
in their ranks, — a promise confirmed by his divine nod. 
This, however, arouses the wrath and jealousy of Juno, 
whom Jupiter is compelled to chide so severely that peace 
and harmony are restored ia Olympus only when Vulcan, 
acting as cup-bearer, rouses the inextinguishable laughter 
of the gods by his awkward limp. 

Book II. That night, while all are sleeping, Zeus 
sends a deceptive dream to Agamemnon to suggest the 
moment has come to attack Troy. At dawn, therefore, 
Agamemnon calls an assembly, and the chiefs decide to 
test the mettle of the Greeks by ordering a return home, 
and, in the midst of these preparations, summoning the 
men to fight. 

These signs of imminent departure incense Juno and 
Minerva, who, ever since the golden apple was bestowed 
upon Venus, are sworn foes of Paris and Troy. In dis- 


guise, therefore, Minerva urges Ulysses, wiliest of the 
Greeks, to silence the clown Thersites, and admonish his 
companions that if they return home empty-handed they 
wiU be disgraced. Only too pleased, Ulysses reminds his 
countrymen how, just before they left home, a serpent 
crawled from beneath the altar and devoured eight young 
sparrows and the mother who tried to defend them, add- 
ing that this was an omen that for nine years they would 
vainly besiege Troy but would triumph in the tenth. 

His eloquent reminder, reinforced by patriotic speeches 
from Nestor and Agamemnon, determines the Greeks to 
attempt a final attack upon Troy. So, with the speed 
and destructive fury of a furious fire, the Greek army, 
whose forces and leaders are all named, sweeps on toward 
Troy, where Iris has flown to warn the Trojans of their 

As on some mountain, through the loffy grove 
The crackling flames ascend and hlaze above; 
The fires expanding, as the winds arise, 
Shoot their long beams and kindle half the skies: 
So from the polish'd arms and brazen shields 
A gleamy splendor flash'd along the fields. 

It is in the form of one of Priam 'a sons that this divinity 
enters the palace, where, as soon as Hector hears the 
news, he musters Ms warriors, most conspicuous among 
whom are his brother Paris, and Aeneas, son of Venus 
and Anchises. 

Book III. Both armies now advance toward each 
other, the Trojans uttering shrill cries like migratory 
cranes, while the Greeks maintain an impressive silence. 
When near enough to recognize his wife's seducer, Mene- 
laus rushes forward to attack Paris, who, terrified, takes 
refuge in the ranks of the Trojan host. So cowardly a 
retreat, however, causes Hector to express the bitter wish 
that his brother had died before bringing disgrace upon 
Troy. Although conscious of deserving reproof, Paris, 
after reminding his brother all men are not constituted 
alike, offers to redeem his honor by fighting Menelaus, 


provided Helen and lier treasures are awarded to the 
victor. This proposal proves so welcome, that Hector 
checks the advance of his men and proposes this duel 
to the Greeks, who accept his terms, provided Priam will 
swear in person to,,J^ treaty. 

Meanwhile ^3ns," in ^ise of a princess, has entered the 
Trojan palace and bidden Helen hasten to the ramparts 
to see the two armies — ^instead of fighting — offering sacri- 
fices as a preliminary to the duel, of which she is to be the 
prize. Donning a veil and summoning her attendants, 
Helen seeks the place whence Priam and his ancient coun- 
sellors gaze down upon the plain. On beholding her, even 
these aged men admit the two nations are excusable for 
so savagely disputing her possession, while Priam, with 
fatherly tact, ascribes the war to the gods alone. 

These, when the Spartan queen approach'd the tower. 
In secret own'd resistless beauty's power: 
They cried, " No wonder such celestial charms 
For nine long years have set the world in arms; 
What winning grace! what majestic mien! 
She moves a goddess and she looks a. queen! " 

Then he invites Helen to sit beside him and name the 
Greeks he points out, among whom she recognizes, with 
bitter shame,, her brother-in-law Agamemnon, Ulysses the 
wily, and Agax the bulwark of Greece. Then, while she 
is vainly seeking the forms of her twin brothers, mes- 
sengers summon Priam down to the plain' to swear to 
the treaty, a task he has no sooner performed than he 
drives back to Troy, leaving Hector and Ulysses to meas- 
ure out the duelling ground and to settle by lot which 
champion shall strike first. 

Fate having favored Paris, he advances in brilliant 
array, and soon contrives to shatter Menelaus' sword. 
Thus deprived of a weapon, Menelaus boldly grasps his 
adversary by his plumed helmet and drags him away, 
until, seeing her protege in danger, Venus breaks the 
fastenings of his helmet, which alone remains in Menelaus' 
hands. Then she spirits Paris hack to the Trojan palace. 


where she leaves him resting on a CQueh, and hurries off, 
ia the guise of an old crone, to twitch Helen's veil, whis- 
pering that Paris awaits her at home. Recognizing the 
goddess in spite of her disguise, Helen reproaches her, 
declaring she has no desire ever to see Paris again, but 
Venus, awing Helen into submission, leads her back to the 
palace. ThereJ^ris, after artfully ascribing Menelaus' 
triumph to Mm^ro's aid, proceeds to woo Helen anew. 
Meantime Menelaus vainly ranges to and fro, seeking his 
foe and hotly accusing the Trojans of screening him, while 
Agamemnon clamors for the immediate surrender of Helen, 
saying the Greeks have won. 

Booh IV. The gods on Mount Olympus, who have 
witnessed all, now taunt each other with abetting the 
Trojans or Greeks, as the case may be^i-LMter this quarrel 
has raged some time, Jupiter bids Mmerva go down and 
violate the truce ; so, in the guise of a warrior, she prompts 
a Trojan archer to aim at Menelaus a dart which pro- 
duces a nominal wound. This is enough, however, to 
excite Agamemnon to avenge the broken treaty. A moment 
later the Greek phalanx advances, urged on by Minerva, 
while the Trojans, equally inspired by Mars, rush to meet 
them' with similar fury. Streams of blood now flow, the 
earth trembles beneath the crash of falling warriors, and 
the roll of war chariots is like thunder. Although it seems 
for a while as if the Greeks are gaining the advantage, 
Apollo spurs the Trojans; to new efforts by reminding them 
that Achilles, their most dreaded foe, is absent. 

Booh V. Seeing the battle well under way, Minerva 
now drags Mars out of the fray, suggesting that mortals 
settle their quarrel unaided. Countless duels now occur, 
many lives are lost, and sundry miracles are performed.\ 
Diomedes, for instance, being instantly healed of a griev- 
ous wound by Minerva, plunges back into the fray and 
fights until Aeneas bids' an archer check his destructive 
c areer. But this man is slain before he can obey, and , 
J^S^ himself would have been killed by Diomedes had 
not Venus snatched him away from the battle-field. While 


she does this, Diomedes wounds her in the hand, causing 

her to drop her son, whom Apollo rescues, while she 

hastens off to obtain from Mars the loan of his chariot, 

wherein to drive back to Olympus. There, on her mother's 

breast, Venus sobs out the tale of her fright, and, when 

healed, is sarcastically advised to leave fighting to the 

other gods and busy herself only with the pleasures of 


"the sire of gods and men superior smiled. 
And, calling Venus, thus address'd his child: 
" Not these, daughter, are thy proper cares. 
Thee milder arts befit, and softer wars; 
Sweet smiles are thine, and kind endearing charms; 
To Mars and Pallas leave the deeds of arms." 

Having enatehed Aeneas out of danger, Apollo con- 
veys him to Pergamus to be healed, leaving on the battle- 
field in his stead a phantom to represent him. Then Apollo 
challenges Mars to avenge Venus' wound, and the fray 
which ensues becomes so bloody that "Homeric battle" 
has been ever since the accepted term for fierce fighting. 
It is because Mars and Bellona protect Hector that the 
Trojans now gain some advantage, seeing which, Juno 
and Minerva hasten to the rescue of the Greeks. Arriving 
on the battle-field, Juno, assuming the form of Stentor 
(whose brazen tones have become proverbial), directs the 
Greek onslaught.^ Meanwhile, instigated by Minerva, 
Diomedes attacks Mars^who, receiving a wound, emits such 
ja. roar of pain that both armies shudder. Then he too is 
/miraculously conveyed to Olympus, where, after exhibit- 
ving his wound, he denounces Minerva who caused it. But, 
although Jupiter sternly rebukes his son, he takes such 
prompt measures to relieve his suffering, that Mars is soon 
seated at the Olympian board, where before long he is 
joined by Juno and Minerva. 

Book VI. Meanwhile the battle rages, and in the 
midst of broken chariots, flying steeds, and clouds of dust, 
we descry Menelaus and Agamemnon doing wonders and 
hear Nestor cheering on the Greeks. The Trojans are 
about to yield before their onslaught, when a warrior 


warns Hector, and the just returned Aeneas, of their 
dire peril. After conferring hastily with his friends, 
Hector returns to Troy to direct the women to implore 
Minerva's favor, while Aeneas goes to support their men. 
At the Scaean Gate, Hector meets the mothers, wives, and 
daughters of the combatants, who, at his suggestion, gladly 
prepare costly offerings to be borne to Minerva's temple 
in solemn procession. 

Then Hector himself rushes to the palace, where, re- 
fusing all refreshment, he goes in quest of Paris, whom 
he finds in the company of Helen and her maids, idly 
polishing his armor. Indignantly Hector informs his 
brother the Trojans are perishdng without the walls in\ 
defence of the quarrel he kindled, but which he is too J 
cowardly to uphold! Although admitting he deserves re| 
proaches, Paris declares he is about to return to the 
battle-field, for Helen has just rekindled all his ardor. 
Seeing Hector does not answer, Helen timidly expresses 
her regret at having caused these woes, bitterly wishing 
fate had bound her to a man noble enough to feel and 
resent an insult. With a curt recommendation to send 
Paris after him as soon as possible. Hector hastens off to 
his own dwelling, for he longs to embrace his wife and 
son, perhaps for the last time. 

There he finds none but the servants at home, who 
inform him that his wife has gone to the watch-tower, 
whither he now hastens. The meeting between Hector and 
Andromache, her tender reproaches at the risks he nms, 
and her passionate reminder that since Achilles deprived 
her of her kin he is her sole protector, form the most 
touching passage in the Iliad . Gently renundrng heFhe 
muiF~go~where~Emor calls, and sadly admitting he is 
haunted by visions of fallen Troy and of her plight as 
captive. Hector adds that to protect her from such a fate 
he must fight. But when he holds out his arms to his 
child, the little one, terrified by the plumes on his helmet, 
refuses to come to him until he lays it aside. Having em- 
braced his infant son. Hector fervently prays he may grow 



up to defend the Trojans, ere he hands him back to 
Andromache, from whom he also takes tender leave. 

Thus having spoke, the illustrious chief of Troy 
Stretch'd his fond arms to clasp the lovely boy. 
The habe clung crying to his nurse's breast, 
Scared at the dazzling helm and nodding crest. 
With secret pleasure each fond parent smiled 
And Hector hasted to relieve his child. 
The glittering terrors from his brows unbound. 
And placed the beaming helmet on the ground; 
Then kiss'd the child, and, lifting high in air, 
Thus to the gods preferr'd a father's prayer: 
" O thou ! whose glory fills the ethereal throne. 
And all ye deathless powers! protect my son! 
(irant him, like me, to purchase just renown. 
To guard the Trojans, to defend the crown. 
Against his country's foes the war to wage. 
And rise the Hector of the future age! 
So when triumphant from successful toils 
Of heroes slain he bears the reeking spoils. 
Whole hosts may hail him with deserved acclaim, 
And say, ' This chief transcends his father's fame : ' 
While pleased amidst the general shouts of Troy, 
His mother's conscious heart o'erflows with joy." 

Then, resuming his helmet, Heetor drives out of the Seaean 
Gate and is joined by his brother Paris, now full of 
ambition to fight. 

Booh VII. Joyfully the Trojans hail the arrival of 
both brothers, before whose fierce onslaught the Greeks 
soon fall back in their turn. Meanwhile Minerva and 
Apollo, siding with opposite forces, decide to inspire the 
Trojans to challenge the Greeks to a single fight, and, 
after doing this, perch upon a tree, in the guise of vul- 
tures, to watch the result. Calling for a suspension of 
hostilities, Heetor dares any Greek to fight him, stipulat- 
ing that the arms of the vanquished shall be the victor's 
prize, but that his remains shall receive honorable burial. 

Conscious that none of their warriors — save Achilles 

match Hector, the Greeks at first hesitate, but, among the 
nine who finally volunteer, Ajax is chosen by lot to be 
the Greek champion. Overjoyed at this opportunity to 
distinguish himself, Ajax advances with boastful con- 


fidence to meet Hector, who, undismayed by his size and 
truculent speeches, enters into the fight. The duel is, 
however, not fought to a finish, for the heralds interrupt 
it at nightfall, pronouncing the champions equal in 
strength and skill and postponing its issue until the 

In his elation Ajax offers thanks to Jupiter before 
attending a baaquet, where Nestor prudently advises his 
friends to fortify their camp by erecting earthworks. 
While the Greeks are feasting, the Trojans debate whether 
it would not be wise to apologize for the broken truce and 
restore Helen and her treasures to the Greeks. But this 
suggestion is so angrily rejected by Paris that Priam 
suggests they propose instead an armistice of sufSdent 
length to enable both parties to bury their dead. 

At dawn, therefore, Trojan heralds visit Agamemnon's 
tent to propose a truce, and offer any indemnification save 
Helen's return. But, although the Greeks consent to an 
armistice, they feel so confident of success that they re- 
fuse all- offers of indemnity. Both parties now bury their 
dead, a sight witnessed by the gods, who, gazing down 
from Olympus, become aware of the earthen ramparts 
erected during the night to protect the Greek fleet. This 
sight prompts Neptune to express jealous feais lest these 
may eclipse the walls he built around Troy, but Jupiter 
pacifies bim by assuring him he can easily bury them be- 
neath the sand as soon as the war is over. 

Booh VIII. At daybreak Jupiter summons the gods, 
forbidding them to lend aid to eitibier party, under penalty 
of perpetual imprisonment in Tartarus. Having decreed' 
this, Jupiter betakes himself to Mount Ida, whence he 
proposes to watch aU that is going on. It is there, at 
noon, that he takes out his golden balances, and places in 
opposite scales the fates of Troy and Greece. A moments 
later a loud clap of thunder proclaims the day's advantage 1 
will remain with the Trojans, whose leader. Hector, is' 
protected by Jupiter's thunderbolts each time that 
Diomedes attacks him. This manifestation of divine favor 


strikes terror in the hearts of the Greeks, but encourages 
the Trojans. They, therefore, hotly pursue the Greeks to 
their ramparts, which Hector urges them to scale when 
the foe seeks refuge behind them. 

Seeing the peril' of the Greeks, Juno urges Agamemnon 
to- visit Ulysses' tent, and there proclaim, in such loud 
tones that Achilles cannot fail to overhear him, that their 
vessels will soon be in flames. Then, fearing for his com- 
panions, Agamemnon prays so fervently for aid that an 
eagle flies over the camp and drops a lamb upon the 
Greek altar. This omen of good fortune renews the cour- 
age of the Greeks, and stimulates the archer Teucer to 
cause new havoc in the Trojan ranks with his unfailing 
arrows, until Hector hurls a rock, which lays him low, and 
rushes into the Greek camp. Jje^^^,-^ (^^-.. 

Full of anxiety for their proteges, Juno and Minerva 
forget Jupiter's injunctions, and are about to hurry off 
to their rescue, when the king of the gods bids them 
stop, assuring them the Greeks will suffer defeat, untU, 
Patroclus having fallen, Achilles arises to avenge him. 
When the setting sun signals the close of the day's fight, 
although the Greefe are still in possession of their tents, 
the Trojans b ivouac J n the plain, just outside the trench, 
to prevent their escape. 

Book IX. Such anxiety reigns in the Greek camp that 
Agamemnon holds a council in his tent. There, almost 
choked by tears, he declares no alternative remains save 
flight, but Diomedes so hotly contradicts him that the 
Greeks decide to remain. At Nestor's suggestion, Aga- 
memnon then tries to atone for his insult to Achilles by 
gifts and apologies, instructing the bearers to promise the 
return of the captive and to offer an alliance with one of 
Ms daughters, if Achilles will only come to their aid. 
Wending their way through the moonlit camp, these emis- 
saries find Achilles idly listening to Patroclus' music. 
After delivering the message, Ulysses makes an eloquent 
appeal in behalf of his countrymen, but Achilles coldly 
rejoins the Greeks will have to defend themselves as he is 


about to depart. Such is his resentment that he refuses 
to forgive Agamemnon, although his aged tutor urges him 
to be brave enough to conquer himself. Most reluctantly 
therefore Ulysses and Ajax return, and, although sleep 
hovers over Achilles' tent, dismay reigns within that of 
Agamemnon, until Diomedes vows they will yet prove 
they do not need Achilles' aid. 

Book X. Exhausted by the day's efforts, most of the 
Greeks have fallen asleep, when Agamemnon, after con- 
versing for a while with Menelaus, arouses Nestor, Ulysses, 
and Diomedes to inspect their posts. It is in the course 
of these rounds that Nestor suggests' one of their number 
steal into the Trojan camp to discover their plans. This 
suggestion is eagerly seized by Diomedes and Ulysses, who, 
on their way to the enemy's camp, encounter Dolon, a 
Trojan spy, who is coming to find out what they are 
planning. Crouching among the corpses, Diomedes and 
Ulysses capture this man, from whom they wring all the 
information they, require, together with exact diregi 
to find the steeds of Rhesus. To secure this prize, Ulyi 
and Diomedes steal into the Trojan camp, where, after 
slaying a few sleepers, they capture the steeds and escape 
in safety, thanks to Minerva's aid. On seeing his friends 
emerge from the gloom with so glorious a prize, Nestor, 
who has been anxiously watching, expresses great joy, and 
invites his companions to refresh themselves after their 

Old Nestor first perceived the approaching sound, 
Bespeaking thus the Grecian peers around: 
"Methinks the noise of trampling steeds I hear, 
Thickening this way, and gathering on my ear; 
Perhaps some horses of the Trojan breed 
(So may, ye gods! my pious hopes succeed) 
The great lydides and Ulysses bear, 
Betum'd triumphant with this prize of war." 

BooTt XI. At daybreak Jupiter sends Discord to waken 
the Greeks and, when they appear in battle array, hurls a 
thunder-bolt as a signal for the fight to begin. Stimulated 


by Hector's ardor, the Trojans now pounce like ravening 
wolves upon their foes, but, in spite of their courage, are 
driven back almost to the Scean Gate. To encourage 
Hector, however, Jupiter warns him, that once Agamem- 
non is wounded the tide will turn. Soon after, a javelin 
strikes Agamemnon, and Hector, seeing him borne to his 
\tent, urges his men on with new vehemence until he 
forces back the Greeks in his turn. In the ensuing medley 
both Diomedes and Uly^es are wounded, and Achilles, 
moodily lounging on the prow of his ship, sees Nestor 
bring them into camp. Wishing to ascertain who has been 
hurt, he sends Patroclus to find out. Thus this warrior 
learns how many of the Greeks are wounded, and is per- 
suaded to try to induce Achilles to assist their country- 
men, or at least to allow his friend to lead his forces to 
their rescue. 

Book XII. Although the Trojans are now fiercely try- 
ing to enter the Greek camp, their efforts are baffled until 
Hector, dismounting from his chariot, attacks the mighty 
wall which the gods are to level as soon as the war is over. 
Thanks to his efforts, its gates are battered in, and the 
Trojans pour into the Greek camp, where many duels 
occur, and where countless warriors are slain on both 

Book XIII. Having effected an entrance into the 
camp, the Trojans rush forward to set fire to the ships, 
hoping thus to prevent the escape of their foes. Perceiv- 
ing the peril of the Greeks, Neptune, in the guise of a 
priest, urges them to stand fast. 

Then with his sceptre, that the deep controls, 

He touched the chiefs and steel'd their manly souls: 

Strength, not their own, the touch divine imparts, 

Prompts their light limbs, and swells their daring hearts. 

Then, as a falcon from the rooky height, 

Her quarry seen, impetuous at the sight, 

forth-springing instant, darts herself from high, 

Shoots on the wing, and skims along the sky: 

Such, and so swift, the power of ocean flew; 

The wide horizon sliut him from their view. 


But the advaxLtage does not remain continuously with 
the Trojans, for Hector is soon beaten back, and, seeing 
his people's peril, again hotly reviles Paris, whose crime 
has entailed all this bloodshed. 

Booh XIV. In the midst of the gloom caused by a 
new irruption of the Trojans in the Greek camp, Nestor 
hastens to the spot where the wounded Agamemnon, 
Ulysses, and Diomedes are watching the fight. But, 
although Agamemnon renews his former suggestion that 
they depart, Diomedes and Ulysses, scorning it, prepare 
to return to the fray, in spite of their wounds. This re- 
newal of Greek courage pleases Juno, who, fearing 
Jupiter will again interfere in behalf of the Trojans, 
proceeds by coquettish wiles and with the aid of the God 
of Sleep to lull him into a state of forgetfulness. This 
feat accomplished, Juno sends Sleep to urge the Greeks 
to make the most of this respite, and, thus stimulat^, 
they fight on, until Ajax hurls a rock which lays Hector) 
low. But, before he and his companions can secure this 
victim. Hector is rescued by his men, who speedily con- 
vey him to the river, where plentiful bathing soon restores 
his senses. 

Book XV. Thus temporarily deprived of a leader, the 
Trojans fall back to the place where they left their 
chariots. They are just mounting in confusion in order 
to flee, when Jupiter, rousing from his nap, and realizing 
how he has been tricked, discharges his wrath upon Juno's 
head. Hearing her attribute the blame to Neptune, Jupiter 
wrathfuUy orders his brother back to his realm and de- 
spatches Apollo to cure Hector. Then he reiterates that\ 
the Greeks shall be worsted until Patroclus, wearing! 
AchiUes' armor, takes part in the fray. He adds that/ 
after slaying his son Sarpedon, this hero will suceumb\ 
beneath Hector's sword, and that, to avenge Patroclus' 
death, Achilles will slay Hector and thus insure the fall 
of Troy. 

Once more the Trojans drive back the Greeks, who 
would have given up in despair had not Jupiter eneour- 



aged them by a clap of thunder. Hearing the Trojans 
again burst into camp, Patroclus rushes out of Achilles' 
tent and sees Teucer winging one deadly arrow after 
another among the foe. But, in spite of his skiU, and 
although Ajax fights like a lion at bay, Hector and the 
Trojans press fiercely forward, torch in hand, to fire the 
|Greek ships. 

(. Book XVI. Appalled by this sight, Patrodus rushes 
back to AchiUes, and, after vainly urging him to fight, 
persuades him to lend him his armor, chariot, and men. 
But, even while furthering his friend's departure, Achilles 
charges bim neither to slay Hector nor take Troy, as he 
wishes to reserve that double honor for himself. It is 
just as the first vessels are enveloped in flames that 
Patroclus rushes to the rescue of his countrymen. At the 
sight of a warrior whom they mistake for Achilles, and at 
yfihis influx of fresh -troops, the Trojans beat a retreat, 
/and the Greeks, flred with new courage, pursue them across 
/ the plain and to the very gates of Troy. Such is Patroclus' 
I ardor that, forgetting Achilles' injunctions, he is about to 
I attack Hector, when Sarped on challenges him to a duel. 
Knowing this fight wiQ prove fatal to his beloved son, 
I Jupiter causes a bloody dew to fall upon earth, and de- 
\ spatches Sleep and Death to take charge of his remains, 
^ which they are to convey first to Olympus to receive a 
fatherly kiss and then to Lycia for burial. No sooner is 
Sarpedon slain than a grim fight ensues over his spoil 
and remains, but while the Greeks secure his armor, his 
corpse is borne away by Apollo, who, after purifying it 
from all battle soil, entrusts it to Sleep and Death. 

Meantime, renewing his pursuit of the Trojans, Patro- 
clus ia about to scale the walls of Troy, when Apollo re- 
minds him the city is not to fall a prey either to him or 
to his friend. Then, in the midst of a duel in which 
Patroclus engages with Hector, Apollo snatches the helmet 
off the Greek hero's head, leaving him thus exposed to 
his foe's deadly blows. The dying Patroclus, therefore, 
declares that had not the gods betrayed him he would 


have triumphed, and predicts that Achilles will avenge 
his death. Meantime, pleased with having slain so re- 
doubtable a foe. Hector makes a dash to secure Achilles' 
chariot and horses, but fails because the driver (Auto- 
medon) speeds away. 

Book XVII. On seeing Patroclus fall, Menelaus.rushes 
forward to defend his remains and rescue Achilles' armor 
from the foe. Warned of this move, Hector abandons the 
vain pursuit of Achilles' chariot, and returns to claim his 
spoil. He has barely secured it when Menelaus and Ajax 
attack him, and a mad battle takes place over Patroclus' w [ 

remains, while Achilles' JjacaeajEfiep for the beloved youth l/\A/tt.AArv*4. 
who so often caressed them. 

Book XVIII. No sooner is the death of Patroclus 
known in Achilles' tent than the female captives wail, 
while the hero groans so loudly that Thetis hears him. 
Rising from the depths of the sea, she hurries to his side, 
regretting his brief life should be marred by so much ^ 

sorrow. Then, hearing biTn swear to avenge his friend, 
she entreats him to wait until the morrow, so she can 
procure him armor from Vulcan. Having obtained this 
promise, she hastens off to visit the god and bespeak his 
aid in behalf of her son. 

Meanwhile the Greeks, who are trying to bear away 
Patroclus' remains, are so hard pressed by the Trojans 
that Juno sends word Achilles must interfere. Hampered 
by a lack of armor and by the promise to his mother, the 
hero ventures only as far, as the trench, where, however, ^ 
he utters so threatening a war-cry that the Trojans flee, and | 
the Greeks are thus able to bring Patroclus' body safely ' 
into camp, just as the sun sets and the day's fighting ends. 

Having unharnessed their steeds, the Trojans assemble 
to consider whether it will not be best to retreat within 
their walls, for they know Achilles will appear on the 
morrow to avenge Patroclus. But Hector so vehemently 
insists that they maintain the advantage gained, that they 
©amp on the plain, where Jupiter predicts his wife's wish 
will be granted and her favorite Achilles win great glory. 


It is in the course of that night that Thetis visits 
Vulcan's forge and in the attitude of a suppliant im- 
plores the divine blacksmith to make an armor for her 
son. Not only does Vulcan consent, but hurries off to 
his anvil, where he and Cyclops labor to such good pur- 
pose that a superb suit of armor is ready by dawn. 

Book XIX. Aurora has barely risen from the bosom 
of the sea, when Thetis enters her son's tent, bearing 
these wonderful weapons. Finding him still weeping over 
his friend's remains, Thetis urges him to rouse himself 
and fight. At the sight of the armor she brings, AchiUes' 
ardor is so kindled that he proclaims he will avenge his 
,friend. Pleased to think the Greeks will have the help of 
this champion, Agamemnon humbly apologizes for the past, 
1 proffering gifts and a feast, which latter Achilles refuses 
to attend as long as Patroclus is unavenged. Before enter- 
ing into battle, however, our hero implores his divine steeds 
to do their best, only to be warned by one of them that, 
although they will save him to-day, the time is fast com- 
ing when he too will fall victim to the anger of the gods. 
Undaunted by this prophecy, Achilles jumps into his 
chariot and sets out for the fray, uttering his blood- 
curdling war-cry. 

With unabated rage — " So let it be ! 

Portents and prodigies are lost on me. 

I know my fate: to die, to see no more 

My much-loved parents and my native shore — 

Enough — ^when heaven ordains, I sink in night: 

Now perish Troy! " He said, and rush'd to fight. 

Book XX. The gods, assembled on Mount Olympus, 
are told by Jupiter that, whereas he intends merely to 
witness the fight, they may all take part in it, provided 
they remember Achilles is to reap the main honors of 
the day. Hearing this, the gods dart off to side with 
Troy and Greece, as their inclinations prompt, and thus 
take an active part in the battle, for which Jupiter gives 
the signal by launching a thunder-bolt. Not only do the 
gods fight against each other on this day, but use all their 
efforts to second their favorites in every way. Before 


long, however, it becomes so evident they are merely delay- 
ing the inevitable issue, that they agree to withdraw from 
the field, leaving mortals to settle the matter themselves. 

There are vivid descriptions of sundry encounters, in- 
cluding one between Achilles and Aeneas, wherein both 
heroes indulge in boastful speeches before coming to blows. 
At one time, when Aeneas is about to get the worst of it, 
the gods, knowing he is reserved for greater things, snatch 
him from the battle-field and convey him to a place of 
safety. Thus miraculously deprived of his antagonist, 
Achilles resumes his quest for Hector, who has hitherto 
been avoiding him, but who, seeing one of his brothers 
fall beneath the Greek's blows, meets him bravely. But, 
as the moment of Hector's death has not yet come, the 
gods separate these two fighters, although their hatred is 
such that, whenever they catch a glimpse of each other, 
they rush forward to renew the fight. 

Book XXI. Fleeing before the Greeks, the Trojans 
reach the Xanthus River, into which AchiUes plunges 
after them, and where, after killing hosts of victims, he 
secures a dozen prisoners to sacrifice on his friend's tomb. 
Hearing AchiUes refuse mercy to a young Trojan, and 
enraged because he has choked his bed with corpses, the 
River God suddenly rises to chide him, but Achilles is 
now in so defiant a mood that he is ready to fight even 
the gods themselves. In spite of his couragM heT^ald, 
however, have been drowned, had not NopTOTO and 
MiEe^acome to his rescue, fighting the waters with fire, 
and assuring him Hector will soon lie lifeless at his feet. 

He ceased; wide conflagration blazing round; 
The bubbled waters yield a hissing sound. 
As when the flames beneath a cauldron rise, 
To melt the fat of some rich sacrifice. 
Amid the fierce embrace of circling fires 
The waters foam, the heavy smoke aspires: 
So boils the imprison'd flood, forbid to flow, 
And choked with vapors feels his bottom glow. 

The course of this day's fighting is anxiously watched 
by old King Priam from the top of the Trojan ramparts. 



and, when lie sees Achilles' forces pursuing his fleeing army 
across the plaia, he orders the gates opened to admit the 
fugitives, and quickly closed again so the foe cannot enter 
too. To facilitate this move, Apollo assumes the guise of 
Hector and decoys Achilles away from the gates until the 
bulk of the Trojan army is safe. 

Book XXII. Meantime the real Hector is stationed be- 
side the gate, and Achilles, suddenly perceiving he has been 
pursuing a mere phantom, darts with a cry of wrath 
'toward Ms foe. Seeing him coming. Hector's parents im- 
plore him to seek refuge within the walls, but the young 
man is too brave to accept such a proposal. Still, when 
he sees the fire in Achilles' eyes, he cannot resist an in- 
voluntary recoil, and turning, flees, with Achilles in close 
^ pursuit, hurling taunts at him. 

These warriors circle the citadel, until the gods, looking 

on, knowing they can no longer defer Hector's death, but 

wishing it to be glorious, send .Apollo down to urge him to 

fight. In the guise of one of Hector's brothers, this god 

offers to aid him, so, thus supported. Hector turns to meet 

Achilles, with whom before fighting he tries to bargain that 

the victor shall respect the remains of the vanquished. But 

/Achilles refuses to listen to terms, and in the course of the 

(ensuing duel is ably seconded by Minerva, while Hector, 

I who depends upon his supposed brother to supply him with 

Veapons when his fail, is basely deserted by Apollo. 

Seeing him disarmed, Achilles finally deals him a deadly 
blow, and, although the dying hero tries to abate his re- 
sentment, loudly proclaims he shall be a prey to vultures 
and wolves. Hearing this. Hector curses his conqueror 
and dies, predicting Achilles shall be slaiu by Paris. His 
victim having breathed his last, Achilles ties him by the 
heels to his chariot, and then drives off with Hector's noble 
head trailing in the dust ! 

Meantime Andromache, busy preparing for her hus- 
band's return, is so startled by loud cries that she rushes 
off to the ramparts to find out what has oceurredi Arriving 
there just in time to see her husband dragged away, she 



faints at the pitiful sight, and, on coming back to her 
senses, bewails her sad fate, foresees an unhappy fate for 
her infant son, and r^rets not being able to bury her 
beloved husband. 

Book XXIII. On reaching his tent with his victim, 
Achilles drags it around Patroclus' remains, apostrophiz- 
ing him and assuring bim that twelve Trojans shall be 
executed on his pyre, while his slayer's body shaU be a 
prey to the dogs. Then, having cast Hector's corpse on 
the refuse heap, Achilles assembles the Greeks in his tent 
for a funeral repast, after which they retire, leaving him 
to mourn. That night he is visited by Patroclus' spirit, 
which warns him he will soon have to die, and bespeaks 
funeral rites. This vision convinces AqhiUes that the 
human soul does not perish with the body, and impels 
him to rouse his companions at dawn to erect a huge 
pyre on the shore, where innumerable victims are to be 
sacrificed to satisfy his friend's spirit. Then he renews 
his promise that Hector's body shall be a prey to the dogs, 
little suspecting that Venus has mounted guard over it, 
so that no harm may befall it. 

In describing the building and lighting of the pyre, 
the poet relates how the flames were fanned by opposite 
winds, depicts the sacrifices offered, the funeral games 
celebrated, and explains how the ashes were finally placed 
in an urn, where those of Achilles were in tim.e to mingle 
with those of his friend. 

Booh XXIV. Although most of the Greek warriors are 
resting after the strenuous pleasures of the day, Achilles 
weeps in his tent until daybreak, when he harnesses his 
horses to his chariot and again drags Hector's body around 
Patroclus' tomb, little suspecting how Venus and Apollo 
guard it from all harm. It is only on the twelfth day after 
Patroclus' death, that the gods interfere in behalf of the 
Trojans, by sending Iris to Priam to guide him to Achilles' 
tent, where they assure him his prayers will obtain hia 
son's body. The rainbow goddess not only serves as guide 
to the mourning father, but brings him unseen into 


Achilles' tent, where, falling at the hero's feet, the aged 
/ Priam sues in such touching terms that the Greek warrior's 
C heart melts and tears stream down his cheeks. Not only- 
does he grant Priam's request, but assures him he is far 
happier than Peleu®, since he still has several sons to 
cheer liim although Hector has been slain. 

These words soft pity in the chief inspire, 
Touch'd with the dear remembrance of his sire. 
Then with his hand (as prostrate still he lay) 
The old man's cheek he gently tum'd away. 
Now each by turns indulged the gush of woe; 
And now the mingled tides together flow: 
This low on earth, that gently bending o'er; 
A father one, and one a son deplore: 
But great Achilles different passions rend. 
And now his sire he mourns, and now his friend. 
The infectious softness through the heroes ran 
One universal solemn shower began; 
They bore as heroes, but they felt as man. 

Still guided by Iris, Priam conveys the body of his son 

back to Troy, where his mother, wife, and the other Trojan 

women utter a touching lament. Then a funeral pyre is 

built, and the Iliad of Homer closes with brave Hector's 


All Troy then moves to Priam's court again, 
A solemn, silent, melancholy train : 
Assembled there, from pious toil they rest. 
And sadly shared the last sepulchral feast. 
Such honors Ilion to her hero paid. 
And peaceful slept the mighty Hector's shade. 


Booh I. Homer's second great epic covers a period of 
forty-two days. After the opening invocation he proceeds 
to relate the adventures of Ulysses. Nearly ten years 
have elapsed since the taking of Troy, when the gods look- 
ing down from Olympus behold him — sole sturvivor of his 
troop — stranded on the Island of Calypso. After some 
mention of the fate of the other Greeks, Jupiter decrees 
that Ulysses shall return to Ithaca, where many suitors 
are besieging his wife Penelope. In obedience with this 


decree, Pallas (Minerva) dons golden sandals — ^which per- 
mit her to flit with equal ease over land and sea — and visits 
Ithaca, where Ulysses' son, Telemachus, mournfully views 
the squandering of his father's wealth. Here she is hos- 
pitably received, and, after some convBrsation, urges 
Telemachus to visit the courts of Nestor and Menelaus to 
inquire of these kings whether his father is dead. 

Telemachus has just promised to carry out this sug- 
gestion, when the suitors' bard begins the recital of the 
woes which have befallen the various Greek chiefs on their 
return from Troy. These sad strains attract Penelope, 
who passionately beseeches the baard not to enhance her 
sorrows by his songs! 

Assuming a tone of authority for the first time, Tele- 
machus bids his mother retire aad pray, then, addressing 
the suitors, vows that unless they depart he will call 
down upon them the vengeance of the gods. These words 
are resented by these men, wJio continue their revelry 
until the night, when Telemachus retires, to dream of his 
projected journey. 

Book II. With dawn, Telemachus rises and betakes 
himself to the market-place, where ia public council he 
complains of the suitors' depredations, and announces he 
is about to depart in quest of his sire. In reply to his 
denunciations the suitors accuse Penelope of deluding them, 
instancing how she promised to choose a husband as soon 
as she had finished weaving a winding sheet for her 
father-in-law Laertea. But, instead of completing this 
task as soon as possible, she ravelled by night the work 
done during the day, until the suitors discovered the 


" The work she plied; but, studious of delay. 
By night reversed the labors of the day. 
While thrice the sun his annual journey made. 
The conscious lamp the midnight fraud survey'd; 
Unheard, unseen, three years her arts prevail: 
The fourth, her maid unfolds the amazing tale. 
We saw as unperceived we took our stand. 
The backward labors of her faithless hand " " 

' The quotations of the Odyssey are taken from Pope's translation. 


They now suggest that Telemachus send Penelope back 
to her father, but the youth indignantly refuses, and the 
council closes while he prays for vengeance. That he has 
not been unheard is proved by the appearance of two 
eag'les, which peck out the eyes of some of the spectators. 
This is interpreted by an old man as an omen of Ulysses' 
speedy return, and he admonishes all present to prove 
faithful, lest they incur a master's wrath. 

The assembly having dispersed, Telemachus hastens 
down to the shore, where Minerva visits him in the guise 
of his tutor Mentor, and instructs him to arrange for 
secret departure. Telemachus, therefore, returns to the 
palace, where the suitors are preparing a new feast. Re- 
fusing to join their revels, he seeks his old nurse Eurycleia, 
to whom he entrusts the provisioning of his vessel, bidding 
her if possible conceal his departure from Penelope for 
twelve days. Meantime, in the guise of Telemachus, 
Minerva scours the town to secure skilful oarsmen, and at 
sunset has a vessel ready to sail. Then, returning to the 
palace, she enchains the senses of the suitors in such deep 
slumber that Telemachus effects his departure unseen, and 
embarking with Mentor sets sail, his vessel speeding 
smoothly over the waves all night. 

Book III. At sunrise Telemachus reaches Pylos and 
finds Nestor and his friends offering a sacrifice on the 
shore. Joining the feasters, — ^who gather by fifties around 
tables groaning beneath the weight of nine oxen apiece, — 
Telemachus makes known his name and errand. In return, 
Nestor mentions the deaths of Patroclus and Achilles, the 
taking of Troy, and the Greeks' departure from its shores. 
He adds that, the gods having decreed they should not 
reach home without sore trials, half the army lingered be- 
hind with Agamemnon to offer propitiatory sacrifices, 
while the rest sailed on. Among these were Nestor and 
Ulysses, but, while the former pressed on and reached 
home, the latter, turning back to pacify the gods, was 
seen no more ! Since his return, Nestor has been saddened 
by the death of Agamemnon, slain on his arrival at Mycenae 


by his faithless wife Clytenmestra and her lover Aegistheus. 
His brother, Menelaus, more fortunate, has recently 
reached home, having been long delayed in Egypt by 
contrary winds. 

"While Nestor recounts these tales, day declines, so he 
invites Telemachus to his palace for the night, promising 
to send him on the morrow to Sparta, where he can question 
Menelaus himself. Although Mentor urges Telemaehus to 
accept this invitation, he declares he must return to the 
ship, and vanishes in the shape of a bird, thus revealing to 
all present his divine origin. A sumptuous meal in the 
palace ensues, and the guest, after a good night, partici- 
pates at break of day in a solemn sacrifice. 

Book IV. Riding in a chariot skilfully guided by one 
of Nestor's sons, Telemaehus next speeds on to Sparta, 
where he finds Menelaus celebrating the marriages of a 
daughter and son. On learning that strangers have 
arrived, Menelaus orders every attention shown them, and 
only after they have been refreshed by food and drink, 
inquires their errand. He states that he himself reached 
home only after wandering seven years, and adds that he 
often yearns to know what has become of Ulysses. At this 
name Telemaehus' tears flow, and Helen, who has just ap- 
peared, is struck by his resemblance to his father. When 
Telemaehus admits his identity, Menelaus and Helen mingle 
their tears with his, for the memory of the past over- 
whelms them with sorrow. Then to restore a more cheer- 
ful atmosphere, Helen casts "nepenthe" into the wine, 
thanks to which beneficent drug all soon forget their wo^. 
She next relates how Ulysses once entered Troy in the 
guise of a beggar, and how she alone recognized him in 
spite of his disguise. This reminds Menelaus of the time 
when Ulysses restrained him and the other Greeks in the 
wooden horse, and when Helen marched around it mimick- 
ing the voices of their wives! 

Soothed by "nepenthe," all retire to rest, and when 
morning dawns Telemaehus inquires whether Menelaus 
knows aught of his father. All the information Menelaus 


vouchsafes is that when he surprised Proteus, counting 
sea-calves on the island of Pharos, he was told he would 
reach home only after making due sacrifices in Egypt to 
appease the gods, that his brother had been murdered on 
arriving at Mycenae, and that Ulysses — ^sole survivor of 
his crew — -was detained by Calypso in an island, whence 
he had no means of escape. The sea-god had further 
promised that Menelaus should never die, stating that, as 
husband of Helen and son-in-law of Jupiter, he would 
enjoy everlasting bliss in the Elysian Fields. Then, after 
describing the sacrifices which insured his return to Sparta, 
Menelaus invites Telemaehus to tarry with him, although 
the youth insists he must return home. 

Meantime the suitors in Ulysses' palajce entertain them- 
selves with games, in the midst of which they learn that 
Telemaehus has gone. Realizing that if he were dead 
Penelope's fortunate suitor would become possessor of all 
Ulysses' wealth, they decide to man a vessel to guard the 
port and slay Telemaehus on his return. This plot is over- 
heard by a servant, who hastens to report it to Penelope. 
On learning her son has ventured out to sea, she wrings 
her hands, and reviles the nurse who abetted his departure 
until this wise woman advises her rather to pray for her 
son's safe return! While Penelope is offering propitiatory 
sacrifices, the suitors despatch a vessel in Antinous' charge 
to lie in wait for the youth. But, during the sleep which 
overcomes Penelope after ber prayers, she is favored by a 
vision, in which her sister assures her Telemaehus will soon 
be restored to her arms, although she refuses to give her 
any information in regard to Ulysses. 

Book V. Aurora has barely announced the return of 
day to gods and men, when Jupiter assembles his council 
on I^Iount Olympus. There Minerva rehearses Ulysses' 
grievances, demanding that he be at last allowed to return 
home and his son saved from the suitors' ambush. In 
reply Jupiter sends Mercury to bid Calypso provide her 
unwilling guest with the means to leave her shores. Don- 
ning his golden sandals, the messenger-god flits to the 


Island of Ogygia, enters Calypso's wonderful cave, and 
delivers his message. Although reluctant to let Ulysses 
depart. Calypso — ^not daring oppose the will of Jupiter- 
goes in quest of her guest. Finding him gazing tearfuUy 
in the direction of home, she promises to supply hlin with 
the means to build a raft which, thanks to the gods, will, 
enable him to reach Ithaca. 

After a copious repast and a night's rest, Ulysses fells 
twenty trees and constructs a raft, in which, after it has 
been provisioned by Calypso, he sets sail. For seventeen 
days the stars serve as his guides, and he is nearing the 
island of Phaeacia, when Neptune becomes aware that his 
hated foe is about to escape. One stroke of the i^ea-god's 
mighty trident then stirs up a tem{)est Which dashes the 
raft to pieces, and Ulysses is in imminent danger of per- 
ishing, when the sea-nymph Leucothea gives him her life- 
preserving scarf, bidding him cast it back into the waves 
when it has borne him safely to land ! Buoyed up by this 
scarf, Ulysses finally reaches the shore, where, after obeying 
the nymph's injunctions, he buries himself in dead leaves 
and sinks into an exhausted sleep. 

Close to the cliff with both his hands he clung, 
And stuck adherent, and suspended hung; 
Till the htige surge roll'd off; then backward sweep 
The refluent tides, and plunge him in the deep. 
And when the polypus, from forth his cave 
Torn with full force, reluctant beats the wave, 
His ragged claws are stuck with stones and sands; 
So the rough rock had shagg'd Ul3*ses' hands. 
And now had perish'd, whelm'd beneath the main, 
The unhappy man; e'en fate had beto in vain; 
But all-subduing Pallas lent her power, 
And prudence saved him in the needful hour. 

Booh VI. While Ulysses is thus sleeping, Minerva, in 
a dream, admonishes Nausicaa, daughter of the Phfteaoian 
king, to wash her garments in readinefe for her wedding. 
On awakening, the princess, after bespfeaMag a chariot 
with mules to draw the clothes to the washing place, de- 
parts with her maids for the shore. 

The clothes washed and hung out to dry, the princess 


and her attendants play ball, until tbeir loud shrieks 
awaken Ulysses. Veiling his nakedness behind leafy 
branches, he timidly approaches the maidens, and addresses 
them from afar. Convinced he is, as he represents, a ship- 
wrecked man in need of aid, the princess provides him 
with garments, and directs him to follow her diariot to 
the confines of the city. There he is to wait until she has 
reached home before presenting himself before her parents, 
as she does not wish his presence with her to cause gossip 
in town. 

Booh VII. Having left Ulysses behind her, Nausicaa' 
returns home, where her chariot is unloaded; but shortly 
after she has retired, Ulysses, guided by Minerva in dis- 
guise, enters the town and palace unseen. It is only 
when, obeying Nausicaa 's instructions, he seeks her 
mother's presence and beseeches her aid, that he becomes 
visible to all. King and queen gladly promise their pro- 
tection to the suppliant, who, while partaking of food, 
describes himself as a shipvirrecked mariner and asks to 
be sent home. After he has refreshed himself, the queen, 
who has recognized the clothes he wears, learning how he 
obtained them, delights in her daughter's charity and 
prudence. Then she and her husband promise the wan- 
derer their protection before retiring to rest. 

Book VIII. At daybreak the king conducts his guest 
to the public square, where Minerva has summoned all the 
inhabitants. To this assembly Aleinous makes known that 
a nameless stranger bespeaks their aid, and proposes that 
after a banquet, where blind Demodocus will entertain 
them, with his songs, they load the suppliant with gifts 
and send him home. 

The projected festive meal is well under way when the 
bard begins singing of a quarrel between Ulysses and 
Achilles, strains which so vividly recall happier days that 
Ulysses, drawing his cloak over his head, gives way to 
tears. Noting this emotion, Aleinous checks the bard and 
proposes games. After displaying their skill in racing, 
wrestling, discus-throwing, etc., the contestants mockingly 


challenge Ulysses to give an exhibition of his proficiency 
in games of strength and skill. Stung by their covert 
taunts, the stranger casts the discus far beyond their best 
mark, and avers that although out of practice he is not 
afraid to match them in feats of strength, admitting, how- 
ever, that he cannot compete with them in fleetness of foot 
or in the dance. His prowess in one line and frank con- 
fession of inferiority in another disarm further criticism, 
and the young men dance until the bard begins singing of 
Vulcan's stratagem to pixnish a faithless spouse.* 

All the Phaeadans now present gifts to the stranger, 
who finds himself rich indeed, but who assures Nausicaa 
he will never forget she was the first to lend him aid. 
Toward the close of the festivities the blind bard sings of 
the wooden horse devised by Ulysses and abandoned on 
the shore by the retreating Greeli. Then he describes its 
triumphant entry into Troy, where for the first time in 
ten years all sleep soundly without dread of a surprise. 
But, while the too confident Trojans are thus resting peace- 
fully upon their laurels, the Greeks, emerging from this 
wooden horse, open the gates to their comrades, and the 
sack of Troy begins! Because the stranger guest again 
shows great emotion, Alcinous begs him to relate his ad- 
ventures and asks whether he has lost some relative in the 
war of Troy? 

Touch'd at the song, Ulysses straight resign'd 
To soft atBiction all his manly mind: 
Before his eyes the purple vest he drew. 
Industrious to conceal the falling dew: 
But when the music paused, he ceased to shed 
The flowing tear, and raised his drooping head: 
And, lifting to the gods a goblet crown'd, 
He pour'd a pure libation to the ground. 

Booh IX. Thus invited to speak, Ulysses, after in. 
troducing himself and describing his island home, relates 
how, the ruin of Troy completed, he and his men left the 
Trojan shores. Driven by winds to Ismarus, they sacked 
the town, but, instead of sailing off immediately with their 

••See chapter on Venus in the author's "Myths of Greece and 


booty as Ulysses urged, tarried there until surprised by 
their foes, from whom they were glad to escape with their 
lives! Tossed by a tempest for many days, the Greek 
ships next neared the land of the Lotus-Eaters, people who 
feasted upon the buds and blossoms of a narcotic lotus. 
Sending three men ashore to reconnoitre, Ulysses vainly 
awaited their return; finally, mistriistiag what had hap- 
pened, he went in quest of them himself, only to find that 
having partaken of the lotus they were dead to the calls of 
home and ambition. Seizing these men, Ulysses conveyed 
them bound to his ship, and, without allowing the rest to 
land, sailed hastily away from those pernicious shores. 

Before long he came to the land of the Cyclops, and 
disembarked on a small neighboring island to renew his 
stock of food and water. Then, unwilling to depart with- 
out having at least visited the Cyclops, he took twelve of 
his bravest men, a skin-bottle full of delicious wine, and 
set out to find Polyphemus, chief of the Cyclops. On 
entering the huge cave where this giant pursued his 
avocation of dairyman, Ulysses and his companions built 
a fire, around which they sat awaiting their host's return. 
Before long a huge one-eyed monster drove in his flocks, 
and, after closing the opening of his cave with a rock 
which no one else could move, proceeded to milk his ewes 
and make cheese. 

It was only while at supper that he noticed Ulysses and 
his men, who humbly approached him as suppliants. After 
shrewdly questioning them to ascertain whether they were 
alone, believing Ulysses' tale that they were shipwrecked 
men, he seized and devoured two of them before he lay 
down to rest. Although sorely tempted to slay him while 
he was thus at their mercy, Ulysses refrained, knowing he 
and his companions would never be able to move the rock. 

At dawn the giant again milked his flock, and devoured 
— as a relish for his breakfast — ^two more Greeks. Then he 
easily rolled aside the rock, which he replaced when he and 
his flock had gone out for the day, thus imprisoning Ulysses 
and his eight surviving men. 


During that long day Ulysses sharpened to a point a 
young pine, and, after hardening this weapon in the fire, 
secured by lot the helpers he needed to execute his plan. 
That evening Polyphemus, having finished his chorea and 
cannibal repast, graciously accepted the wine which Ulysses 
oflEered him. Pleased with its taste, he even promised the 
giver a reward if he would only state his name. The wily 
Ulysses declaring he was called Noman, the giant facetiously 
promised to eat him last, before he fell into a drunken 
sleep. Then Ulysses and his four men, heating the pointed 
pine, bored out the eye of Polyphemus, who howled with 

" Sudden I stir the embers, and inspire 

With animating breath the seeds of fire; 

Each drooping spirit with bold words repair. 

And urge my train the dreadful deed to dare. 

The stake now glow'd beneath the burning bed 

(Green as it was) and sparkled fiery red. 

Then forth the vengeful instrument I bring; 

With beating hearts my fellows form a ring. 

Urged by some present god, they swift let fall 

The pointed torment on his visual ball. 

Myself above them from a rising ground 

Guide the sharp stake, and twirl it round and round. 

As when a shipwright stands his workmen o'er. 

Who ply the wimble, some huge beam to bore; 

Urged on all hands it nimbly spins about, 

The grain deep-piercing till it scoops it out; 

In his broad eye so whirls the fiery wood; 

From the pierced pupil spouts the boiling blood; 

Singed are his brows ; the scorching lids grow black ; 

The jelly bubbles, and the fibres crack." 

His fellow-Cyclops, awakened by his cries, gathered 
without his cave, asking what was the matter. But, hear- 
ing him vehemently howl that Noman was hurting him, 
they all declared he was evidently being punished by the 
gods and left him to his plight! 

When morning came, the groaning Cyclops rolled aside 
the rock, standing beside it with arms outstretched to 
catch his prisoners should they attempt to escape. Seeing 
this, Ulysses tied his men under the sheep, and, clinging 
to the fleece of the biggest ram, had himself dragged, out 
of the cave. Passing his hand over the badjs of the sheep 



to make sure the strangers were not riding on them, 
Polyphemus recognized by touch his favorite ram, and 
feelingly ascribed its slow pace to sympathy with his woes. 

The master ram at last approach'd the gate, 
Charged with his wool and with Ulysses' fate. 
Him, while he pass'd, the monster blind best)oke: 
" What makes my ram the lag of all the flock? 
First thou wert wont to crop the flowery mead, 
Krat to the field and river's bank to lead. 
And first with stately step at evening hour 
Thy fleecy fellows usher to their bower. 
Now far the last, with pensive pace and slow 
Thou movest, as conscious of thy master's woe! 
Seest thou these lids that now unfold in vain, 
(The deed of Noman and his wicked train?) 
Oh I didst thou feel for thy afflicted lord. 
And would but fate the power of speech aflford; 
Soon might'st thou tell me where in secret here 
The dastard lurks, all trembling with his fear: 
Swung round and round and dash'd from rock to rock. 
His batter'd brains should on the pavement smoke. 
No ease, no pleasure my sad heart receives. 
While such a monster as vile Noman lives." 

Once out of the cave, Ulysses cut the bonds of his 
men, with whose aid he drove part of Polyphemus' flock 
on board of his ship, which he had hidden in a cove. He 
and his companions were scudding safely past the head- 
land where blind Polyphemus idly sat, when Ulysses taunt- 
ingly raised his voice to make known his escape and real 
name. With a cry of rage, the giant flung huge masses 
of rock in the direction of his voice, hotly vowing his 
father Neptune would yet avenge his wrongs! 

Book X. After leaving the island of the Cyclops, 
Ulysses visited Aeolus, king of the winds, and was hos- 
pitably entertained in his cave. In token of friend- 
ship and to enable Ulysses to reach home quickly, Aeolus 
bottled up all the contrary winds, letting loose only those 
which would speed him on his way. On leaving Aeolus, 
Ulysses so carefully guarded the skin bottle containing the 
adverse gales that his men fancied it must contain jewels 
of great price. For nine days and nights Ulysses guided 
the rudder, and only when the shores of Ithaca came in 


By L. Chalon 


sight closed his eyes in sleep. This moment was seized 
by his crew to open the bottle, whence the captive winds 
escaped with a roar, stirring up a hurricane which finally 
drove them back to Aeolus' isle. 

"They said: and (oh cursed fate! ) the thongs unbound! 
The gushing tempest sweeps the ocean round; 
Snatch'd in the whirl, the hurried navy flew. 
The ocean widen'd and the shores withdrew. 
Eoused from my fatal sleep, I long debate 
If still to live, or desperate plunge to fate; 
Thus doubting, prostrate on the deck I lay. 
Till all the coward thoughts of death gave way." 

On seeing them return with tattered sails, Aeolus 
averred they had incurred the wrath of some god and 
therefore drove them away from his realm. Toiling at the 
oar, they reached, after seven days, the harbor of the 
Laestrigonians, cannibal giants, from whose clutches only 
a few ships escaped. Sorrowing for their lost friends, the 
Greeks next landed in the island of Circe, where Ulysses 
remained with half his men by the ships, while the rest 
set out to renew their supplies. This party soon discov- 
ered the abode of the enchantress Circe, who, aware of 
their approach, had prepared a banquet and a magic drug. 
Enticed by her sweet voice, all the men save one sat down 
to her banquet, and ate so greedily that the enchantress, 
contemptuously waving her wand over them, bade them 
assume the forms of the animals they most resembled ! A 
moment later a herd of grunting pigs surrounded her, 
pigs which, however, retained a distressing consciousness 
of their former human estate. 

Milk newly press'd, the saci'ed flour of wheat. 
And honey fresh, and Framnian wines the treat: 
But venom'd was the bread, and mix'd the bowl. 
With drugs of force to darken all the soul: 
Soon in the luscious feast themselves they lost. 
And drank oblivion of their native coast. 
Instant her circling wand the goddess waves, 
To hogs transforms them, and the sty receives. 
No more was seen the human form divine; 
Head, face, and members, bristle into swine: 
Still cursed with sense, their minds remain alone. 
And their own voice affrights them when they groan. 


This dire transformation was viewed with horror by 
the man lurking outside, who fled back to the ships, 
imploring Ulysses to depart. Unwilling to desert his men, 
Ulysses on the contrary set out for Circe's dwelling, meet- 
ing on the way thither Mercury in disguise, who gave 
him an herb to annul the effect of Circe's drugs and 
directed liim how to free his companions. 

Following these instructions, Ulysses entered Circe's 
abode, partook of the refreshments offered him, and, when 
she waved her wand over him, threatened to kill her unless 
she restored his men to their wonted forms ! The terrified 
Circe not only complied, but detained Ulysses and his 
companions with her a full year. As at the end of that 
time the men pleaded to return home, Ulysses told his 
hostess he must leave. Then she informed him he must 
first visit the Cimmerian shore and consult the shade of the 
blind seer Tiresias. The prospect of such a journey greatly 
alarmed Ulysses, but when Circe had told him just how to 
proceed, he bravely set out. 

Wafted by favorable winds, Ulysses' ship soon reached 
the country of eternal night. On landing there he dug 
a trench, and slew the black victims Circe had given 
him, and with drawn sword awaited the approach of a 
host of shades, among whom he recognized a man killed 
by accident on Circe's island, who begged for proper 
funeral rites. By Circe's order, Ulysses, after allowing 
the ghost of Tiresias to partake of the victim's blood, 
learned from him that, although pursued by Neptune's 
vengeance, he and his men would reach home safely, pro- 
vided they respected the cattle of the Sun on the island 
of Trinacria. The seer added that all who attacked them 
would perish, and that, even if he should escape death and 
return home, he would have to slay his wife's insolent 
suitors before he oould rest in peace. 

After this had been accomplished, Ulysses was to 
resume his wanderings until he came to a land where the 
oar he carried would be mistaken for a winnowing fan. 
There he was to offer a propitiatory sacrifice to Neptune, 


after which he would live to serene old age and die 
peacefully among his own people* His conversation with 
Tiresias finished, Ulysses interviewed his mother — of 
whose demise he had not been aware — and conversed with 
the shades of sundry women noted for having borne sonsi 
to gods or to famous heroes. 

Book XI. This account had been heard with breathless 
interest by the Phaeacians, whose king now implored! 
Ulysses to go on. The hero then described his interview 
with the ghost of Agamemnon, — slain by his wife and her 
paramour on his return from Troy, — ^who predicted his 
safe return home, and begged for tidings of his- son 
Orestes, of whom Ulysses knew nought. Ulysses next be- 
held Achilles, who, although ruler of the dead, bitterly 
. declared he would rather be the meanest laborer on earth 
than monarch among shades! 

"Talk not of ruling in this dolorous gloom, 
Nor think vain words (he cried) can ease my doom< 
Eather I'd choose laboriously to bear 
A weight of woes and breathe the vital air, 
A slave to some poor hind that toils for bread, 
Than reign the sceptered monarch of the dead." 

To comfort him, Ulysses described how bravely his 
son had fought at the taking of Troy, where he had been 
one of the men in the wooden horse. The only shade which 
refused to approach Ulysses was that of Ajax, who still 
resented his having won the armor of AchiUes. Besides 
these shades, Ulysses beheld the judges of Hades and the 
famous culprits of Tartarus. But, terrified by the "in- 
numerable nation of the dead" crowding around him, 
he finally fled in haste to his vessel, and' was goon wafted 
back to Circe's shore. 

Book XII. There Ulysses buried his dead companion 
and, after describing his visit to Hades, begged his hostess' 
permission to depart. Circe consented, warning him to 
beware of the Sirens, of the threatening rocksj of the 
monster Scylla and the whirlpool Charybdis' oo either 
side of the Messenian Strait, and of the cattle of Trinacria, 


giving him minute directions how to escape unharmed 
from all these perils. 

Morning having come, Ulysses took leave of Circe, and, 
on nearing the reef of the. Sirens, directed his men to 
bind him fast to the mast, paying no heed to his gestures, 
after he had stopped their ears with soft wax. In this 
way he heard, without perishing, the Sirens' wonderful 
song, and it was only when it had died away in the dis- 
tance and the spell ceased that his men unbound him from 
the mast. 

"Thus the sweet charmers warbled o'er the main; 
My soul takes wing to meet the heavenly strain; 
I give the sign, and struggle to be free: 
Swift row my mates, and shoot along the sea; 
New chains they add, and rapid urge the way, 
Till, dying off, the distant sounds decay: 
Then scudding swiftly from the dangerous ground. 
The deafen'd ears unlock'd, the chains unbound." 

Not daring describe to his companions the threatened 
horrors of Charybdis and Scylla, Ulysses bade his steers- 
man avoid the whirlpool, and, fully armed, prepared to 
brave the monster Scylla. But, notwithstanding his 
preparations, she snatched from his galley six men who were 
seen no more! Although reluctant to land on Trinaeria 
for fear his sailors would steal the cattle of the Sun, 
Ulysses was constrained to do so to allow them to rest. 
While they were there, unfavorable winds began to blow, 
and continued so long that the Greeks consumed all their 
provisions, and, in spite of their efforts to supply their 
larder by hunting and fishing, began to suffer from hunger. 
D'uring one of Ulysses' brief absences the men, breaking 
their promises, slew some of the beeves of the Sun, which 
although slain moved and lowed as if still alive! Un- 
deterred by such miracles, the men feasted, but, on em- 
barking six days later, they were overtaken by a tempest 
in which all perished save Ulysses. Clinging to the mast 
of his wrecked ship, he drifted between Charybdis and 
Scylla, escaping from the whirlpool only by clinging to 
the branches of an overhangiag fig-tree. Then, tossed by 


the waves for nine days longer, Ulysses was finally cast 
on tile isle of Ogygia, whence he had come directly to 
Phaeacia as already described. 

Book XIII. Having finished this account of his ten 
years' wanderings, Ulysses, after banqueting with Alcin- 
ous, was conveyed with his gifts to the ship which was to 
take him home. Then, while he slept in the prow, the 
skilful Phaeacian rowers entered a sheltered Ithacan bay, 
where they set sleeper and gifts ashore and departed with- 
out awaiting thanks. They were about to reenter their 
own port when Neptune, discovering they had taken his 
enemy home, struck their vessel with his trident, thus 
transforming it into the galley-shaped rock stiU seen there 

Meantime Ulysses, awakening, hid his treasures away 
in a cave. Then, accosted by Minerva in disguise, he gave 
a fantastic account of himself, to which she lent an amused 
ear, before assuring him of her identity and of his wife's 
fidelity. She then reported the insolence of the suitors 
lying in wait to murder Telemachus at his return, and 
suggested that Ulysses, in the guise of an aged beggar, 
should visit his faithful swineherd until time to make his 
presence known. 

Book XIV. Transformed by Minerva into a sordid 
mendicant, Ulysses next visits the swineherd, who sets 
before him the best he has, complaining that the greedy 
suitors deplete his herds. This old servant is comforted 
when the beggar assures him his master will soon return 
and reports having seen him lately. Ulysses' fictitious 
account of himself serves as entertainment until the hour 
for rest, when the charitable swineherd covers his guest 
with his best cloak. 

Book XV. Meantime Minerva, hastening to Sparta, 
awakens in the heart of the sleeping Telemachus a keen 
desire to return home, warns him of the suitors' ambush, 
instructs him how to avoid it, and cautions him on his 
return to trust none save the women on whose fidelity he 
can depend. At dawn, therefore, Telemachus, after offer- 


ing a saxjrifice and receiving Menelans' and Helen's parting 
gifts, sets out, cheered by favorable omens. Without paus- 
ing to visit Nestor, — ^whose son is to convey his thanks, — 
Telemachus embarks, and, following Minerva's instructions, 
lands near the swineherd's hut. 

Book XVI. The swineherd is preparing breakfast, when 
Ulysses warns him a friend is coming, for his dogs fawn 
upon the stranger and do not bark. A moment later 
Telemachus enters the hut, and is warmly welcomed by his 
servant, who wishes him to occupy the place of honor at his 
table. But Telemachus modestly declines it in favor of the 
aged stranger, to whom he promises clothes and protection 
as soon as he is master in his own house. Then he bids the 
swineherd notify his mother of his safe arrival, directing 
her to send word to Laertes of his return. This man has 
no sooner gone than Minerva restores Ulysses to more than 
his wonted vigor and good looks, bidding him make him- 
self known to his son and concert with him how to dispose 
of the suitors. Amazed to see the beggar transformed into 
an imposing warrior, Telemachus is overjoyed to learn who 
he really is. The first transports of joy over, Ulysses 
advises his son to return home, lull the suitors' suspicions 
by specious words, and, after removing all weapons from 
the banquet hall, await the arrival of his father who will 
appear in mendicant's guise. 

While father and son are thus laying their plans, Tele- 
machus' vessel reaches port, where the suitors mourn the 
escape of their victim. They dare not, however, attack 
Telemachus openly, for fear of forfeiting Penelope's re- 
gard, and assure her they intend to befriend him. Mean- 
time, having delivered his message to his mistress, the 
swineherd returns to his hut, where he spends the evening 
with Telemachus and the beggar, little suspecting the latter 
is his master. 

Booh XVII. At daybreak Telemachus hastens back to 
the palace, whither the swineherd is to guide the stranger 
later in the day, and is rapturously embraced by his mother. 
After a brief interview, Telemachus sends her back to her 


apartment to efface the trace of her tears, adding that he 
is on his way to the market-place to meet a travelling com- 
panion whom he wishes to entertain. After welcoming this 
man with due hospitality, Telemachus gives his mother an 
account of his trip. While he is thus occupied, Ulysses is 
wending his way to the palace, where he arrives just as 
the suitors' wonted revels reach their height. But as he 
enters the court-yard, his favorite hunting dog expires for 
joy on recognizing him. 

He knew his lord; — he knew, and strove to meet; 
In vain he strove to crawl and kiss his feet; 
Yet (all he could) his tail, his ears, his eyes, 
Salute his master and confess his joys. 
Soft pity touch'd the mighty master's soul: 
Adown his cheek a tear unbidden stole; 
iStole unperceived: he turn'd his head, and dried 
The drop humane. 

Humbly making the rounds of the tables like the beggar 
he seems, Ulysses is treated kindly by Telemachus, but 
grossly insulted by the suitors, one of whom, Antinous, 
actually flings a stool at him. Such a violation of the 
rights of hospitality causes some commotion in the palace, 
and so rouses the indignation of Penelope that she ex- 
presses a wish to converse with the beggar, who may have 
heard of her absent spouse. 

Book XVIII. Meantime Ulysses has also come into con- 
flict with the town-beggar (Irus), a lusty youth, who chal- 
lenges him to fight. To his dismay, Ulysses displays such 
a set of muscles on laying aside his robe that the insolent 
challenger wishes to withdraw. He is, however, compelled 
by the suitors to fight, and is thoroughly beaten by Ulysses, 
whose strength arouses the suitors' admiration. Then, in 
reply to their questions, Ulysses favors them with another 
of those tales which do far more honor to his imagination 
than to his veracity. 

Meantime Penelope indulges in a nap, during which 
Minerva restores all her youthful charms. Then she 
descends into the hall, to chide Telemachus for allowing 
a stranger to be insulted beneath his father's roof. She 


next remarks that she foresees she will soon have to choose 
a husband among the suitors present, as it is only too evi- 
dent Ulysses is dead, and, under pretext of testing their 
generosity, induces them all to bestow upon her gifts, which 
she thriftily adds to her stores. Beside themselves with joy 
at the prospect that their long wooing will soon be over, 
the suitors sing and dance, until Telemachus advises them 
to return home. 

Booh XIX. The suitors having gone, Ulysses helps 
Telemachus remove all the weapons, while the faithful 
nurse mounts guard over the palace women. Secretly 
helped by Minerva, father and son accomplish their task, 
and are sitting before the fire when Penelope comes to ask 
the beggar to relate when and how he met Ulysses. This 
time the stranger gives so accurate a description of Ulysses, 
that Penelope, wishing to show him some kindness, sum- 
mons the old nurse to bathe his feet. Because she herself 
dozes while this homely task is being performed, she is not 
aware that the old nurse recognizes her master by a scar 
on his leg, and is cautioned by him not to make his presence 

Deep o'er his knee inseam'd, remain'd the scar: 

Which noted token of the woodland war 

When Euryclea found, the ablution ceased; 

Down dropp'd the leg, from her slack hand released: 

The mingled fluids from the base redound; 

The vase reclining floats the floor around! 

Smiles dew'd with tears the pleasing strife express'd 

Of grief, and joy, alternate in her breast. 

Her fluttering words in melting murmurs died; 

At length abrupt — "My son! — ^my king! " she cried. 

Her nap ended, Penelope resumes her conversation with 
the beggar, telling him she has been favored by a dream 
portending the death of the suitors. Still, she realizes there 
are two kinds of dreams, — those that come true issuing 
from Somnus' palace by the gate of horn, while deceptive 
dreams pass through an ivory gate. After providing for 
the beggar's comfort, Penelope retires, and as usual spends 
most of the night mourning for her absent partner. 


Book XX. Sleeping beneath Uie portico on the skins 
of the animals slain to feast the horde of suitors, Ulysses 
sees the maids slip out of the palace to join the suitors, who 
have wooed them surreptitiously. Then he falls asleep and 
is visited by Minerva, who infuses new strength and cour- 
age in his veins. At dawn Ulysses is awakened by Tele- 
machus, and soon after the house is once more invaded 
by the suitors, who with their own hands slay the animals 
provided for their food. Once more they display their 
malevolence by ill treating the beggar, and taunt Tele- 
maehus, who apparently pays no heed to their words. 

Booh XXI. Meantime Minerva has prompted Penelope 
to propose to the suitora to string Ulysses' bow and shoot 
an arrow through twelve rings. Armed with this weapon, 
and followed by handmaids bearing bow, string, and arrows, 
Penelope appears in the banquet-hall, where the suitors 
eagerly accept her challenge. But, after Antinous has 
vainly striven to bend the bow, the others warily try sundry 
devices to ensure its pliancy. 

Meantime, noticing that the swineherd and one of his 
companions — ^upon whose fidelity he counts — ^have left the 
hall, Ulysses follows them, makes himself known by means 
of his scar, and directs them what to do. Then, returning 
into the hall, he silently watches the suitors' efforts to 
bend the bow, and, when the last has tried and failed, 
volunteers to make the attempt, thereby rousing ger-eral 
ridicule. All gibes are silenced, however, when the beggar 
not only spans the bow, but sends his first arrow through 
the twelve rings. At the same time the faithful servants 
secure the doors of the apartment, and Telemachus, dart- 
ing to his father's side, announces he is ready to take part 
in the fray. 

BooTi XXII. 

Then fierce the hero o'er the threshold strode; 
Stript of his rags, he blazed out like a god. 
Full in their face the lifted bow he bore, 
And quiver'd deaths, a, formidable store; 
Before his feet the, rattling shower he threw. 
And thus, terrific, to the suitor-crew: 


." Une venturous game this hand hath won to-day; 
Another, princes! yet remains to play: 
Another mark our arrow must attain. 
Phoebus, assist! nor be the labor vain.'' 
Swift as the word the parting arrow sings; 
And bears thy fate, Antinous, on its wings. 
Wretch that he was, of unprophetic soul! 
High in. his hands he rear'd the golden bowl : 
E'en then to drain it lengthen'd out his breath; 
Changed to the deep, the bitter draught of death! 
For fate who f ear'd amidst a feastful band ? 
And fate to numbers, by a single hand? 
Full through his throat Ulysses' weapon pass'd, _ 
And pierced his neck. He falls, and breathes his last. 

Grimly announcing his second arrow will reach a differ- 
ent goal by Apollo's aid, Ulysses shoots the insolent Antin- 
ous through the heart and then begins to taunt and threaten 
the other suitors. Gazing wildly around them for weapons 
or means of escape, these men discover how cleverly they 
have been trapped. One after another now falls beneath 
the arrows of Ulysses, who bids his son hasten to the store- 
room and procure arms for them both as there are not 
arrows enough to dispose of his foes. Through Telemachus' 
heedlessness in leaving the doors open, the suitors contrive 
to secure weapons too, and the fight in the hall rages until 
they all have been slain. Then the doors are thrown open, 
and the faithless maids are compelled to remove the corpses 
and purify the room, before they are hanged! 

Book XXIII. The old nurse has meantime had the 
privilege of announcing Ulysses' safe return to his faith- 
ful retainers, and last of all to the sleeping Penelope. 
Unable to credit such tidings, — although the nurse assures 
her she has seen his sear, — Penelope imagines the suitors 
must have been slain by some god who has come to her 
rescue. She decides, therefore, to go down and congratu- 
late her son upon being rid of those who preyed upon his 
wealth. Seeing she does not immediately fall upon his 
father's neck, Telemachus hotly reproaches her, but she 
rejoins she must have some proof of the stranger's identity 
and is evidently repelled by his unprepossessing appear- 
ance. Hearing this, Ulysses suggests that all present purify 


themselves, don fresh garments, and partake of a feast, 
enlivened by the songs of their bard. While he is attended 
by the old nurse, Minerva sheds upon him such grace that, 
when he reappears, looking like a god, he dares reproach 
Penelope for not recognizing him. Then, hearing her order 
that his bed be removed to the portico, he hotly demands 
who cut down the tree which formed one of its posts? 
Because this fact is known only to Penelope and to the 
builder of the bed, she now falls upon Ulysses' neck, begging 
his pardon. Their joy at being united is marred only by 
Ulysses' determination soon to resume his travels, and pur- 
sue them until Tiresias' prediction has been fulfilled. That 
night is spent in mutual confidences in regard to all that 
has occurred during their twenty years' separation, and 
when morning dawns Ulysses and his son go to visit Laertes. 
Book XXIV. Mindful of his office as conductor of 
souls to Hades, Mercury has meanwhile entered the palace 
of Ulysses, and, waving his wand, has summoned the spirits 
of the suitors, who, uttering plaintive cries, follow him 
down to the infernal regions. 

Cyllenius now to Pluto's dreary reign 

Conveys the dead, a lamentable train! 

The golden wand, that causes sleep to fly, 

Or in soft slumber seals the wakeful eye. 

That drives the ghosts to realms of night or day. 

Points out the long uncomfortable way. 

Trembling the spectres glide, and plaintive vent 

Thin hollow screams, along the deep descent. 

As in the cavern of some rifty den, 

Where flock nocturnal bats and birds obscene, 

Cluster'd they hang, till at some sudden shock, 

They move, and murmurs run through all the rock: 

So cowering fled the sable heaps of ghosts; 

And such a scream fiU'd all the dismal coasts. 

There they overhear Ajax giving Achilles a minute 
account of his funeral, — ^the grandest ever seen, — and when 
questioned describe Penelope's stratagem in regard to the 
web and to Ulysses' bow. 

Meanwhile Ulysses has arrived at his father's farm, 
where the old man is busy among his trees. To prepare 


Laertes for his return, Ulysses relates one of his fairy 
tales ere he makes himself known. Like Penelope, Laertes 
proves iacredulous, until Ulysses points out the trees given 
him when a child and exhibits his scar. 

Smit with the signs which all his doubts explain. 
His heart within him melts; his knees sustain 
Their feeble weight no more; his arms alone 
Support him, round the loved Ulysses thrown: 
He faints, he sinks, with mighty joys oppreas'd: 
Ulysses clasps him to his eager breast. 

To celebrate their reunion, a banquet is held, which per- 
mits the Ithacans to show their joy at their master's return. 
Meanwhile the friends of the suitors, having heard of the 
massacre, determine to avenge them by slaying father and 
son. But, aided by Minerva and Jupiter, these two heroes 
present so formidable an appearance, that the attacking 
party concludes a treaty, which restores peace to Ithaca 
and ends the Odyssey. 


Latin literature took its source in the Greek, to which 
it owes much of its poetio beauty, for many of its master- 
pieces are either translations or imitations of the best Greek 
writings. There have been, for instance, numerous trans- 
lations of the Iliad and Odyssey, the first famous one being 
by the "father of Roman dramatic and epic poetry," Livius 
Andronicus, who lived in the third century B.C. He also 
attempted to narrate Roman history in the same strain, by 
composing an epic of some thirty-five books, which are lost. 

Another poet, Naevius, a century later composed the 
Cyprian Iliad, as well as a heroic poem on the first Punic 
war (Bellum Punicum), of which only fragments have 
come down to us. Then, in the second century before our 
ora, Bnnius made a patriotic attempt to sing the origin of 
Rome in the Annales in eighteen books, of which only parts 
remain, while Hostius wrote an epic entitled Istria, which 
has also perished. Lucretius' epic "On the Nature of 
Things" is considered an example of the astronomical or 
physical epic. 

The Augustan age proved rich in epic poets, such as 
Publius Terentius Varro, translator of the Argonautica 
and author of a poem on Julius Caesar; Lucius Varius 
Rufus, whose poems are lost; and, greatest of all, Virgil, 
of whose latest and greatest work, the Aeneid, a complete 
synopsis follows. Next to this greatest Latin poem ranks 
Lucan's Pharsalia, wherein he relates in ten books the 
rivalry between Caesar and Pompey, while his contemporary 
Statius, in his Thebais and unfinished Achilleis, works over 
the time-honored cycles of Thebes and Troy. During the 
same period Silius Italicus supplied a lengthy poem on the 
second Punic war, and Valerius Flaccus a new translation 
or adaptation of the Argonautica. 

In the second century of our own era Quintius Curtius 
epmposed an epic on Alexander, and in the third century 



Juvencus penned the first Christian epic, using the Life 
of Christ as his theme. In the fifth century Claudianus 
harked back to the old Greek myths of the battle of the 
Giants and of the Abduction of Persephone, although by 
that time Christianity was well established in Italy. From 
that epoch Roman literature practically ceased to exist, 
for although various attempts at Latin epics were made 
by mediaeval poets, none of them proved of suflScient merit 
to claim attention here. 


Book I. After stating he is about to sing the deeds of 
the heroic ancestor of the Romans, Virgil describes how, 
seven years after escaping from burning Troy, Aeneas' 
fleet was overtaken by a terrible storm off the coast of 
Africa. This tempest, raised by the turbulent children of 
Aeolus at Juno's request, threatened before long to destroy 
the Trojan fleet. But, disturbed by the commotion over- 
head and by Aeneas' frantic prayers for help, Neptune 
suddenly arose from the bottom of the sea, angrily ordered 
the winds back to their cave, and summoned sea-nymphs 
and tritons to the Trojans' aid. Soon, therefore, seven of 
the vessels came to anchor in a sheltered bay, where Aeneas 
landed with his friend Achates. While reconnoitring, they 
managed to kill seven stags with which to satisfy the 
hunger of the men, whom Aeneas further cheered by the 
assurance that they were the destined ancestors of a mighty 

Meantime Venus, beholding the plight of her son 
Aeneas, had hastened! off to Olympus to remind Jupiter of 
his promise to protect the remnant of the Trojan race. 
Bestowing a kiss, the King of the Gods assured her that 
after sundry vicissitudes Aeneas would reach Italy, where 
in due time his son would found Alba Longa. Jupiter 
added a brief sketch of what would befall this hero's race, 
until, some three hundred years after his death, one of his 
descendants, the Vestal Ilia, would bear twin sons to 


Mars, god of War. One of these, Romulus, would found 
the city of Rome, where the Trojan race would continue 
its heroic career and where Caesar would appear to fill the 
world with his fame. 

"From Troy's fair stock shall Caesar rise, 
The limits of whose victories 
Are ocean, of his fame the skies.'" 

Having thus quieted Venus' apprehensions in regard to 
her son, Jupiter dirtected Mercury to hasten off to Carthage 
so as to warn Dido she is to receive hospitably the Trojan 

After a sleepless night Aeneas again set out with 
Achates to explore, and encountered in the forest his 
goddess mother in the guise of a Tyrian huntress. In 
respectful terms — for he suspected she was some divinity 
in disguise — ^Aeneas begged for information and learned 
he has landed in the realm of Dido. Warned in a vision 
that her brother had secretly slain her husband and was 
plotting against her life, this Tyrian queeti had fled from 
Tyre with friends and wealth, and, on reaching this part 
of Africa, had, thanks to the clever device of a bull's hide, 
obtained land enough to found the city of Byrsa or Caii;h- 
age. In return Aeneas gave the strange huntress his name, 
relating how the storm had scattered all his vessels save 
the seven anchored close by. To allay his anxiety in regard 
to his friends, Venus assured him that twelve swans flying 
overhead were omens of the safety of his ships, and it was 
only when she turned to leave him that Aeneas recognized 
his mother, who, notwithstanding his desire to embrace her, 
promptly disappeared. 

The two Trojans now walked on in the direction she 
indicated until dazzled by the beauty of the new city of 
Carthage, which was rising rapidly, thanks to the activity 
of Dido's subjects. In its centre stood a wonderful temple, 
whose brazen gates were decorated with scenes from the 

>A11 the quotations in this article are from Virgil's Aeneid, 
Conington's translation. 


"War of Troy. Hidden from all eyes by a divine mist, 
Aeneas and Achates tearfully gazed upon these reminders 
of the glories past and mingled with the throng until Queen 
Dido appeared. 

She was no sooner seated upon her throne than she sum- 
moned into her presence some prisoners just secured, in 
whom Aeneas recognized with joy the vajious captains of 
his missing ships. Then he overheard them bewail the storm 
which robbed them of their leader, and was pleased because 
Dido promised them entertainment and ordered a search 
made for their chief. 

The right moment having come, the cloud enveloping 
Aeneas and Achates parted, ajid Dido thus suddenly be- 
came aware of the presence of other strangers in their 
midst. Endowed by Venus with special attractions so as 
to secure the favor of the Libyan queen, Aeneas stepped 
gracefully forward, made himself known, and, after paying 
due respect to the queen, joyfully greeted his comrades. 
Happy to harbor, so famous a warrior. Dido invited Aeneas 
to a banquet in her palace, an invitation he gladly accepted, 
charging Achates to hasten back to the ships to announce 
their companions' safety and to summon lulus or Ascanius 
to join his father. To make quite sure Aeneas should 
captivate Dido's heart, Venus now substituted Cupid for 
lulus, whom she meantime conveyed to one of her favorite 
resorts. It was therefore in the guise of the Trojan prince 
that Cupid, during the banquet, caressingly nestled in 
Dido's arms and stealthily effaced from her heart all traces 
of her former husband's face, filling it instead with a re- 
sistless passion for Aeneas, which soon impelled her to 
invite him to relate his escape from Troy. 

Book II. With the eyes of all present upon him, Aeneas 
related how the Greeks finally devised a colossal wooden 
horse, wherein their bravest chiefe remained concealed 
while the remainder of their forces pretended to sail home, 
although they anchored behind a neighboring island to 
await the signal to return and sack Troy. Overjoyed by 
the departure of the foe, the Trojans hastened down to the 


shore, where, on discovering the huge wooden horse, they 
joyfully proposed to drag it into their city as a trophy. In 
vain their priest, Laocoon, implored them to desist, hurling 
his spear at the horse to prove it was hollow and hence 
might conceal some foe. This daring and apparent sacrilege 
horrified the Trojans, who, having secured a Greek fugitive 
in a swamp near by, besought him to disclose what purpose 
the horse was to serve. Pretending to have suffered great 
injustice at the Greeks' hands, the slave (Sinon) replied 
that if they removed the wooden horse into their walls the 
Trojans would greatly endajiger the safety of their foes, 
who had left it on the shore to propitiate Neptune. Enticed 
by this prospect, the Trojans proved more eager than ever 
to dra^ the horse into their city, even though it necessitated 
pulling down part of their* walls. Meantime part of the 
crowd gathered about Laocoon who was to offer public 
thanks on the seashore, but, even while he wa^ standing at 
the altar, attended by his sons, two huge seirpents arose 
out of the sea and, coiling fiercely around priest and both 
acolytes, throttled them in spite of their efforts. 

He strains his strength their knots to tear. 
While gore and slime his fillets smear. 
And to the unregardful skies 
Sends up his agonizing cries. 

On seeing this, the horror-struck Trojans immediately con- 
cluded Laooobn was being punished for having attacked 
the woodten horse, which they joyfully dragged into Troy, 
although the prophet-princess, Cassandra, besought them 
to desist, foretelling all manner of woe. 

Night now fell upon the city^ where, for the first time 
in ten years, aU slept peacefully without fear of surprise. 
At midnight Sinon released the captive Greeks from the 
wooden steed, and, joined by their companions, who had 
noiselessly returned, they swarmed all over the undtef ended 
city. Aeneas graphically described for Dido's benefit his 
peaceful sleep, when the phantom of the slaughtered Hector 
bade him arise and flee with his family, because the Greeks 


had already taken possession of Troy ! At this moment loud 
clamors awakened him, confirming what he had just heard 
in dream. Aeneas immediately rushed to the palace to 
defend his king, he and his men stripping the armor from 
fallen Greeks to enable them to get there unmolested. Still, 
they arrived only in time to see Achilles' son rush into the 
throne-room and cruelly murder the aged Priam after kill- 
ing his youngest son. They also beheld the shrieking women 
ruthlessly dragged off into captivity, Cassandra wUdly 
predicting the woes which would befall the Greek chiefs on 
their way home. 

Ah see! the Priameian fair, 
Cassandra, by her streaming hair 

Is dragged from Pallas' shrine, 
Her wild eyes raised to Heaven in vain — 
Her eyes, alas ! for cord^; and chain 

Her tender hands confine. 

The fall of aged Priam and the plight of the women re- 
minding Aeneas of the danger of his own father, wife, and 
son, he turned to rush home. On his way thither he met 
his mother, who for a moment removed the mortal veil 
from his eyes, to let him see Neptune, Minerva, and Juno 
zealously helpiag to ruin Troy. Because Venus passion- 
ately urged her son to escape while there was yet time, 
Aeneas, on reaching home, besought his father Anchises to 
depart, but it was only when the old man saw a bright 
flame hover over the head of his grajidson, lulus, that he 
realized heaven intended to favor his race and consented 
to leave. Seeing him too weak to walk, his son bade him 
hold the household goods, and carried him off on his back, 
leading his boy by the hand and calling to his wife and 
servants to follow. Thus burdened, Aeneas reached a ruined 
fane by the shore, only to discover his beloved wife was 
missing. Anxiously retracing his footsteps, he encountered 
her shade, which bade him cease seeking for her among the 
living and hasten to Hesperia, where a new wife and home 
awaited him. 


"Then, while I dewed with tears my cheek 
And strove a thousand things to speak, 

She melted into night: 
Thrice I essayed her neck to clasp: 
Thrice the vain semblance mocked my grasp, 
As wind or slumber light." 

Thus enlightened in regard to his consort's fate and wishes, 
Aeneas hastened back to his waiting companions, and with 
them prepared to leave the Trojan shores. 

Book III. Before long Aeneas' fleet landed on the 
Thracian coast, where, while preparing a sacrifice, our hero 
was horrified to see blood flow from the trees he cut down. 
This phenomenon was, however, explained by an under- 
ground voice, relating how a Trojan was robbed and slain 
by the inhabitants of this land, and how trees had sprung 
from the javelins stuck in his breast. 

Unwilling to linger in such a neighborhood, Aeneas 
sailed to Delos, where an oracle informed him he would 
be able to settle only in the land whence his ancestors had 
come. Although Anchises interpreted this to mean they 
were to go to Crete, the household gods informed Aeneas, 
during the journey thither, that Hesperia was their 
destined goal. After braving a three-days tempest, Aeneas 
landed on the island of the Harpies, horrible monsters who 
defiled the travellers' food each time a meal was spread. 
They not only annoyed Aeneas in this way, but predicted, 
when attacked, that he should find a home only when driven 
by hunger to eat boards. 

" But ere your town with walls ye fence, 
Fierce famine, retribution dread 
For this your murderous violence, 

Shall make you eat your boards for bread." 

Sailing off again, the Trojans next reached Epirus, 
which they found governed by Helenus, a Trojan, for 
Achilles' son had already been slain. Although Hector's 
widow was now queen of the realm where she had been 
brought a captive, she still mourned for her noble hus- 
band, and gladly welcomed the fugitives for his sake. It was 


during the parting sacrifice that Helenns" predicted that, 
after long wanderings, his guests would settle in Italy, in 
a spot where they would find a white sow suckling thirty 
young. He also cautionedj Aeneas about the hidden dangers 
of Charybdis and Seylla, and bade him visit the C'umaean 
Sibyl, so as to induce her, if possible, to lend him her aid. 

Restored and refreshed by this brief sojourn among 
kinsmen, Aeneas and his followers resumed their journey, 
steering by the stars and avoiding all landing in eastern or 
southern Italy which was settled by Greeks. After passing 
Charybdis aud Seylla unharmed, and after gazing in awe 
at the plume of smoke crowning Mt. Aetna, the Trojans 
rescued one of the Greeks who had escaped with Ulysses 
from the Cyclops' cave but who had not contrived to sail 

To rest his weary men, Aeneas finally landed at 
Drepaniun, in Sicily, where his old father died and was 
buried with all due pomp. It was shortly after leaving 
this place, that Aeneas' fleet had been overtaken by the 
terrible tempest which had driven his vessels to Dido's 

So King Aeneas told his tale 

While all beside were still, 
Rehearsed the fortunes of his sail 

And fate's mysterious will: 
Then to its close his legend brought 
And gladly took the rest he sought. 

Book IV. While Aeneas rested peacefully. Dido's new- 
bom passion kept her awake, causing her at dawn to rouse 
her sister Anna, so as to impart to her the agitated state 
of her feelings. Not only did Anna encourage her sister 
to marry again, but united with her in a prayer to which 
Venus graciously listened, although Juno reminded her that 
Trojans and Carthaginians were destined to be foes. Still, 
as Goddess of Marriage, Juno finally consented that Aeneas 
and Dido be brought together in the course of that day's 

We now have a description of the sunrise, of the prepara- 


tions for the chase, of the queen's dazzling appearance, 
and of the daring huntsmanship of the false lulus. But 
the brilliant hunting expedition is somewhat marred in 
the middle of the day by a sudden thunderstorm, during 
which Aeneas and Dido accidentally seek refuge in the 
same cave, where we are given to understand their union 
takes place. So momentous a step, proclaimed by the 
hundred-mouthed Goddess of Fame, rouses the ire of the 
native chiefs, one of whom fervently hopes Carthage may 
rue having spared these Trojan refugees. This prayer is 
duly registered by Jupiter, who further bids Mercury 
remind Aeneas his new realm is to be founded in Italy 
and not on the African coast ! 

Thus divinely ordered to leave, Aeneas dares not dis- 
obey, but, dreading Dido's reproaches and tearsi, he pre- 
pares to depart secretly. His plans are, however, detected 
by Dido, who vehemently demands how he dares forsake 
her now? By Jupiter's orders, Aeneas remains unmoved 
by her reproaches, and sternly reminds her that he always; 
declared he was bound for Italy. So, leaving Dido to brood 
over her wrongs, Aeneas hastens down to the shore to 
hasten his preparations for departure. Seeing this, Dido 
implores her sister to detain her lover, and, as this proves 
vain, orders a pyre erected, on which she places all the 
objects Aeneas has used. 

That night the gods arouse Aeneas from slumber to 
bid him sail without taking leave of the Tyrian queen. In 
obedience to this command, our hero cuts with his sword 
the rope which moors his vessel to the Carthaginian shore, 
and sails away, closely followed by the rest of his fleet. 
Prom the watch-tower at early dawn. Dido discovers his 
vanishing sails', and is so overcome by grief that, after rend- 
ing ' ' her golden length of hair "and calling down vengeance 
upon Aeneas, she stabs herself and breathes her last in the 
midst of the burning pyre. The Cartha^nians, little .ex- 
pecting so tragical a denouement, witness the agony of 
their beloved queen in speechless horror, while Anna wails 
aloud. Gazing down from heaven upon this sad scene. 


Juno directs Iris to hasten down and cut off a lock of 
Dido's hair, for it is only when this mystic ceremony has 
been performed that the soul can leave the body. Iris 
therefore speedily obeys, saying: 

" This lock to Dis I bear away 
And free you from your load of clay: " 
So shears the lock: the vital heats 
Disperse, and breath in air retreats. 

Book V. Sailing on, Aeneas, already dismayed by the 
smoke rising from the Carthaginian shore, is further 
troubled by rapidly gathering clouds. His weather-wise 
pilot, Palinurus, suggests that, since. "the west is darkening 
into wrath," they run into the Drepanum harbor, which 
they enter just one year after Anchises' death. There 
they show due respect to the dead by a sacrifice, of which a 
serpent takes his tithe, and proceed to celebrate funeral 
games. We now have a detailed account of the winning 
of prizes for the naval, foot, horse and chariot races, and 
the boxing and archery matches. 

While all the men are thus congenially occupied, the 
Trojan women, instigated by Juno in disguise, set fire to 
the ships, so they need no longer wander over seas they 
have learned to loathe. One of the warriors, seeing the 
smoke, raises the alarm, and a moment later his companions 
dash down to the shore to save their ships. Seeing his 
fleet in flames, Aeneas wrings his hands, and prays with 
such fervor that a cloudburst drenches his burning vessels. 
Four, however, are beyond repair ; so Aeneas, seeing he no 
longer has ship-room for all his force, allows the Trojans 
most anxious to rest to settle in Drepanum, taking with 
him only those who are willing to share his fortunes. 

Before he leaves, his father's ghost appears to him, 
bidding him, before settling in Latium, descend into Hades 
by way of Lake Avemus, and visit him in the Elysian 
Fields to hear what is to befall his race. 

When Aeneas leaves Drepanum on the next day, his 
mother pleads so successfully in his behalf that Neptune 
promises to exact only one life as toll. 


" One life alone shall glut the wave; 
One head shall fall the rest to save.'' 

Book VI. Steering to Comae, where the Sibyl dwells, 
Aeneas seeks her cave, whose entrance is barred by bronzen 
gates, on which is represented the story of Daedalus, — 
the first bird man, — ^who, escaping from the Labyrinth at 
Crete, gratefully laid his wings on this altar. "We are 
further informed that the Sibyl generally wrote her oracles 
on separate oak leaves, which were set in due order in her 
cave, but which the wind, as soon as the doors opened, 
scattered or jumbled together, so that most of her pre- 
dictions proved unintelligible to those who visited her 
shrine. After a solemn invocation, Aeneas besought her 
not to baffle him by writing on oak leaves, and was favored 
by her apparition and the announcement that, after escap- 
ing sundry perils by land and sea and reddening the Tiber 
with blood, he would, thanks to Greek aid, triumph, over 
his foes and settle in Latium with a new bride. Undaunted 
by the prospect of these trials, Aeneas besought the Sibyl 
to guide him down to Hades, to enable him to visit his 
father, a journey she flatly recused to undertake, unless 
he procured the golden bough which served as a key to 
that region, and unless he showed due respect to the 
corpse of his friend. Although both conditions sounded 
mysterious when uttered, Aeneas discovered, on rejoining 
his crew, that one of his Trojans had been slain. After 
celebrating his funeral, our hero wandered off into a neigh- 
boring forest, where some doves — ^his mother's birds — 
guided him to the place where grew the golden bough he 

Armed with this talisman and escorted by the Sibyl, 
Aeneas, by way of Lake Avemus, entered the gloomy cave 
which formed the entrance to Hades. Following the fly- 
ing footsteps of his mystic guide, he there plunged into 
the realm of night, soon reaching the precinct of departed 
souls, where he saw innumerable shades. Although he 
immediately crossed the river in Charon's leaky punt, many 
spirits were obliged to wait a hundred years, simply because 


they could not pay for their passage. Among these un- 
fortunates Aeneas recognized his recently drowned pilot, 
who related how he had come to his death and by what 
means he was going to secure funeral honors. 

In spite of the thre&-headed dog and sundry other grew- 
some sights, Aeneas and his guide reached the place where 
Minos holds judgment over arriving souls, and viewed the 
region where those who died for love were herded together. 
Among these ghosts was Dido, but, although Aeneas pity- 
ingly addressed her, she sullenly refused to answer a word. 
Farther on Aeneas came to the place of dead heroes, and 
there beheld brave Hector and clever Teucer, together with 
many other warriors who took part in the Trojan War. 

- After allowing him to converse a brief while with these 
friends, the Sibyl vouchsafed Aeneas a passing glimpse of 
Tartarus and of its great criminals, then she hurried him 
on to the Elysian Fields, the home of ' ' the illustrious dead, 
who fighting for their country bled," to inquire for 
Anchises. The visitors were immediately directed to a 
quiet valley, where they found the aged Trojan, pleasantly 
occupied contemplating the unborn souls destined to pass 
gradually into the upper world and animate the bodies of 
his progeny. On beholding his son, who, as at Drepanum, 
vainly tried to embrace him, Anchises revealed all he had 
learned in regard to life, death, and immortality, and gave 
a synopsis of the history of Rome for the next thousand 
years, naming its great worthies, from Romulus, founder 
of Rome, down to Augustus, first emperor and ruler of the 
main part of the world. 

This account of the glories and vicissitudes of his race 
takes considerable time, and when it is finished the Sibyl 
guides Aeneas back to earth by one of the two gates which 
lead out of this dismal region. Pleased with having accom- 
plished his errand so successfully and duly encouraged by 
all he has learned, Aeneas returns to his fleet and sets sail 
for the home he is so anxious to reach. 

Book VII. We now skirt with Aeneas the west coast 
of Italy, sail past Circe's island, and see his ships driven 


up the -winding Tiber by favorable winds. On his first 
landing the Muse Erato rehearses for our benefit the his- 
tory of the Latins, whose royal race, represented at present 
by Latinus, claims to descend from Saturn. Although 
Latinus has already betrothed his daughter Lavinia to 
Tumus, a neighboring prince, he is favored by an omen 
at the moment when the Trojans laud. On seeking ail 
interpretation of this sign, he learns he is not to bestow 
his daughter upon Tumus, but is to reserve her hand for 
a stranger, whose descendants will be powerful indeed. 

Meantime the Trojans feast upon meat which is served 
to each man on a wheaten cake. Young lulus, greedily 
devouring his, exclaims playfuUy that he is so hungry he 
has actually eaten the board on which has meal was spread ! 
Hearing these significant words, his happy father exclaims 
they have reached their destined goal, since the Harpies' 
terrifying prophecy has been fulfilled. 

"Hail, auspicious land! " he cries, 

"So long from Fate my due! 
All hail, ye Trojan deities, 

To Trojan fortunes true! 
At length we rest, no more to roam. 
Here is our country, here our home." 

Then the Trojans begin to explore, and, discovering 
Latinus' capital, send thither an embassy of a hundred 
men, who axe hospitably entertained. After hearing all 
they have to say, Latinus assures them that men of his 
race once migrated from Asia, and that the gods have just 
enjoined upon him. to bestow his daughter upon a foreign 
bridegroom. When he proposes to unite Lavinia to Aeneas, 
Juno, unable to prevent a marriage decreed by Fate, tries 
to postpone it by infuriating Amata, mother of the bride, 
and causing her to flee into the woods with her daughter. 
Not satisfied with one manifestation of power, Juno 
despatches Discord to ask Turnus if he will tamely allow 
his promised bride to be given to another man? Such a 
taunt is sufficient to determine hot-headed Tumus to make 
war, but, as a pretext is lacking, one of the Furies prompts 


lulus to pursue and wound the pet stag of a young shep- 
herdess called Sylvia. The distress of this rustic maid so 
excites her shepherd brothers that they fall upon the Tro- 
jans, who, of course, defend themselves, and thus the con- 
flict begins. Having successfully broken the peace, Dis- 
cord hastens back to Juno, who, seeing Latinus would fain 
remain neutral, compels him to take part in the war by 
opening with her own hand the gates of the temple of Janus. 
Here the poet recites the names of the various heroes about 
to distinguish themselves on either side, specially men- 
tioning in the Rutules' force Mezentius, his son Lausus, 
and the Volseian maid Camilla, who prefers the stirring 
life of a eamp to the peaceful avocations of her sex. 

Book Yin. Because Turnus is reinforced by many 
allies, Aeneas is anxious to secure some too, and soon sets 
out to seek the aid of Evander, king of Etruria, formerly 
a Greek. On his way to this realm, Aeneas perceives on 
the banks of the Tiber a white sow with thirty young, which 
he sacrifices to the gods in gratitude for having pointed out 
to him the spot where his future capital will rise. On 
reaching the Etruscan's stronghold, Aeneas readily secures 
the promise of a large contingent of warriors, who prepare 
to join him under the command of Pallas, son of the king. 
He then assists at a great Etruscan banquet in honor of 
one of Hercules' triumphs, and while he is sleeping there 
his mother, Venus, induces her blacksmith husband, Vulcan, 
to make him a suit of armor. 

Dawn having appeared, Evander entertains his guests 
with tales, while his son completes his preparations. 
Aeneas' departure, however, is hastened by Venus, who 
warns her son that his camp is in danger when she delivers 
to him the armor she has procured. This is adorned by 
many scenes in the coming history of Rome, among-which 
special mention is made of the twins suckled by the tra- 
ditional wolf, of the kidnapping of the Sabines, and of the 
heroic deeds of Codes, Cloelia, and Manlius, as well as 
battles and festivals galore.* 

' See the author's " Story of the Romans." 


Booh IX. Meantime, obedient to Tumus' orders, the 
Rutules have surrounded the Trojan camp and set fite to 
Aeneas' ships. But, as Pate has decreed these vessels shall 
be immortal, they sink beneath the waves as soon as the 
flames touch them, only to reappear a moment later as ocean- 
nymphs and swim down the Tiber to warn Aeneas of the 
danger of his friends. This miracle awes the foe, until 
Turnus boldly interprets it in his favor, whereupon the 
Rutules attack the foreigners' camp so furiously that the 
Trojans gladly accept the proposal made by Nisus and 
Euryalus to slip out and summon Aeneas to return. 

Stealing out of the Trojan camp by night, these two 
heroes bravely thread their way through their sleeping 
foes, killing sundry famous warriors as they go, and ap- 
propriating choice bits of their spoil. Leaving death in 
their wake, the two Trojans pass through the enemy's 
ranks and finally enter a forest, where they are pursued 
by a troop of the Volscians, who surround and slay 
Euryalus. But, although Nisus first manages to escape 
from their hands, he returns to defend his comrade and 
is slain too. The Volscians therefore bear two bloody heads 
to the Rutules camp to serve as their war standards on the 
next day. It is thus that Euryalus' mother becomes aware 
of the death of her son, whom she mourns in t(Hiching 

" Was it this, ah me, 
I followed over land and sea? 
O slay me, Rutules! if ye know 
A mother's love, on me bestow 

The tempest of your spears! 
Or thou, great Thunderer, pity take, 
And whelm me 'neath the Stygian lake. 
Since otherwise I may not break 

This life of bitter tears! " 

To recount all the deeds of valor performed on this 
day would require much space, but, although Mars in- 
spires the party of Aeneas with great courage, it is evi- 
dently on the verge of defeat when Jupiter orders Tumus 
to withdraw. 


Book X. Having convoked his Olympian council, Jupiter 
forbids the gods to interfere on either side, and decrees 
that the present quarrel S'hall be eettled without divine 
aid. Hearing this, Venus vehemently protests that, having 
promised her son should found a new realm in Italy, he 
is bound to protect him, while Juno argues with equal force 
that the Trojans should be further punished for kidnapping 
Helen. Silencing both goddesses, Jupiter reiterates' his 
orders and dissolves the assembly. 

The scene now changes back to earth, where the Trojans, 
closely hemmed in by foes, long for Aeneas' return. He, 
on his way back, encounters the sea-nymphs, who explain 
they were once his ships and bid him hasten and rescue his 
son. Thus admonished, Aeneas hurries back, to take part 
in a battle where many heroic deeds are performed, and 
where Tumus, Mezentius, and Lausus prove bravest on the 
enemy's side, although they find their match in Aeneas, 
Pallas, and lulus. Among the briUiant duels fought, men- 
tion must be made of one between Pallas and Tumus, where 
notwithstanding his courage the Trojan prince succumbs. 
After stripping his companion of his armor, Tumus 
abandons his corpse to his friends, who mourn to think that 
he lost his life while helping them. Vowing to avenge him, 
Aeneas next attacks his foe with such fury, that it seems 
as if Tumus' last day has come, but Juno pleads so 
eloquently in his behalf, that, although Pate has decreed 
he shall perish, she grants him brief respite. 

To preserve Tumus from the deadly blows of the> real 
Aeneas, Juno causes him to pursue a phantom foe on board 
a ship, whose moorings she loosens, thuiS setting him adrift 
upon the Tiber. Perceiving only then how he has been 
tricked, Tumus threatens to slay himself, but is restrained 
by Juno, who after awhile allows him to land and return 
to the battle. Thus deprived of his principal foe, Aeneas 
ranges over the battlefield, where he wounds Mezentius and 
kills Lausus. Seeing his beloved son is gone, Mezentius 
is so anxious to die that he now offers an unresisting throat 
to Aeneas, who slays him on the spot. 


"One boon (if vanquished foe may crave 
The victor's grace) I ask — ^a grave. 
My wrathful subjects round me wait: 
Protect me from their savage hate. 
And let me in the tomb enjoy 
The presence of my slaughtered boy." 

Booh XI. Having made a trophy of the enemies' spoil, 
Aeneas, even before proceeding to bury his ovm comrades, 
adorns the body of Pallas and sends it back to Etruria. 
Then he bai^ains with Tumns' ambassadors for a twelve- 
days truce, during which both parties celebrate pompous 
funerals, the finest of all being that of Pallas. 

Hoping to check further bloodshed, Latinus now pro- 
poses a peace, whose terms Aeneas is wiUing to accept, but 
which Tumus angrily rejects since they deprive him of 
his promised bride. The conflict is therefore resumed, and 
the next interesting episode refers to Camilla, the warrior 
maid, whose father when she was only a babe tied her to 
the shaft of his spear and flung her across a torrent he was 
unable to stem with her in his arms. Having thus saved 
her from the enemy's clutches, this father taught Camilla 
to fight so bravely, that she causes dire havoc among the 
Trojans before she dies, using her last breath to implore 
Tumus to hasten to the rescue. 

"Go: my last charge to Tur'nus tell. 
To haste with succor, and repel 
The Trojans from the town — farewell." 
She spoke, and speaking, dropped her rein. 
Perforce descending to the plain. 
Then by degrees she slips away 
From all that heavy load of clay: 
Her languid neck, her drowsy head 
She droops to earth, of vigor sped: 
She lets her martial weapons go: 
The indignant soul flies down below. 

Book Xn. Unappeased by Latinus' reiterated asser- 
tions that he is bestowing Lavinia upon a stranger merely 
to obey the gods, or by the entreaties in which Amata now 
joins, Turnus still refuses peace. More fighting therefore 
ensues, during which Aeneas is wounded in the thigh. 


While his leech is vainly trying to stanch his blood, Venus 
drops a magic herb into the water used for bathing his 
wounds and thus miraculously cures him. Plunging back 
into the fray, which becomes so horrible that Amata brings 
Lavinia home and commits suicide, Turnus and Aeneas 
finally meet in duel, but, although Juno would fain inter- 
fere once more in behalf of her protege, Jupiter refuses to 
allow it. But he grants instead his wife 's petition that the 
Trojan name and language shall forever be merged into 
that of the Latin race. 

"Let Latium prosper as she will, 
Their thrones let Alban monarchs fill; 
Let Eome be glorious on the earth. 
The centre of Italian worth; 
But fallen Troy be fallen still. 
The nation and the name." 

Toward the end of this momentous encounter, during 
which both heroes indulged in sundry boastful speeches, 
a bird warns Tumus that his end is near, and his sister 
Juturna basely deserts him. Driven to bay and deprived 
of all other weapons, Tumus finally hurls a rock at Aeneas, 
who, dodging this missile, deals Mm a deadly wound. 
Tumus now pitifully begs for mercy, but the sight of 
Pallas' belt, which his foe proudly wears, so angers Aeneas 
that, after wrathfuUy snatching it from him, he deals his 
foe the deadly blow which ends this epic. 

"What! in my friend's dear spoils arrayed 

To me for mercy sue? 
'Tis Pallas, Pallas guides the blade: 
Prom your cursed blood his injured shade 

Thus takes atonement due." 
Thus as he spoke, his sword he drave 

With fierce and fiery blow 
Through the broad breast before him spread: 
The stalwart limbs grow cold and dead: 
One groan the indignant spirit gave, 

Then sought the shades below. 


The national epic in France bears the characteristic 
name of Chanson de Geste, or song of deed, because the 
trouveres in the north and the troubadours in the south 
wandered from castle to castle singing the prowesses of 
the lords and of their ancestors, whose reputations they 
thus made or ruined at will. 

In their earliest form these Chansons de Geste were 
invariably in verse, but in time the most popular were 
turned into lengthy prose romances. Many of the hundred 
or more Chansons de Geste still preserved were composed 
in the northern dialect, or langue d'oil, and, although 
similar epics did exist in the langue d'oc, they have the 
"great defect of being lost," and only fragments of 
Flamenga, etc., now exist. 

There are three great groups or cycles of French epics : 
first the Cycle of Fl-anee, dealing specially with Charle- 
magne, — the champion of Christianity, — ^who, representing 
Christ, is depicted surrounded by twelve peers instead of 
twelve disciples. Among these, to carry out the scriptural 
analogy, lurks a traitor, Ganelon; so, in the course of the 
poems, we are favored with biblical miracles, such as the 
sun pausing in its course until pagans can be punished, and 
angels appearing to comfort dying knights. The finest 
sample of this cycle is without doubt the famous Chanson 
de Roland, of which a complete synopsis follows. Other 
remarkable examples of this cycle are Aliscans, Raoul de 
Cambrai, Garin le Lorrain, Guillaume d 'Orange, Les 
Quatre Fils d'Aymon, Ogier le Danois, etc. 

Even the character of the hero varies from age to age, 
for whereas Charlemagne in the Chanson de Roland — 
which dates perhaps as far back as the tenth century — is 
a heroic figure, he becomes during later periods, when 
vassals rise up against their overlords, — an object of con- 
tempt and ridicule. A marked example of this latter style 
6 81 


of treatment is furnished by Les Quatre PUs d'Aymon.^ 
The second group, or cycle of Brittany, animated by a 
chivalrous spirit, and hence termed court epic, finds its 
greatest exponent in the poet Chrestien de Troyes, whose 
hero Arthur, King of Brittany, gathers twelve knights 
around his table, one of whom, Mordred, is to prove 
traitor. The principal poems of this cycle are Launcelot 
du Lac, Ivain le Chevalier au Lion, Erec and Enide, Mer- 
lin, Tristan, and Perceval. These poems all treat of 
chivalry and love, and introduce the old pagan passion- 
breeding philtre, as well as a whole world of magie and 
fairies. These epics will be noticed at greater length when 
we treat of the English versions of Arthur and the Elnights 
of the Round Table, because many of the poems have been 
reworked in modem English and are hence most popular 
in that language. 

Besides the Chansons de Geste pertaining to various 
phases of this theme, the Breton cycle includes many shorter 
works termed lais, which also treat of love, and were com- 
posed by Marie de France or her successors. The best 
known of all these "cante-fables" is the idyllic Aucassin 
et Nicolette, of which a full account is embodied iu this 

One of the best samples of the domestic epic in this 
cycle is the twelfth century Amis and Amiles, in which 
two knights, bom and baptized on the same day, prove so 
alike as to become interchangeable. StiU, brought up in 
separate provinces, Amis and Amiles meet and become 
friends only when knighted by Charlemagne, whose gra- 
ciousness toward them rouses the jealousy of the felon 
knight Hardr6. When Charlemagne finally offers his niece 
to Amiles (who, through modesty, passes her on to Amis) , 
the felon accuses the former of treacherously loving the 
king's daughter BeUicent, and thereupon challenges him 
to fight. Conscious of not being a traitor, although guilty 
of loving the princess, Amiles dares not accept this chal- 

iSee the author's " Legends of the Middle Ages.'' 


lenge, and changes places -with Amis, who personates him 
in. the lists. Because Amis thus commits perjury to rescue 
his friend from a dilemma, he is in due time stricken with 
leprosy, deserted by his wife, and sorely ill treated by his 
vassals. After much suffering, he discovers his sole hope 
of cure consists in bathing in the blood of the children which 
in the meanwhile have been bom to Amiles and to his 
princess-wife. When the leper Amis reluctantly reveals 
this fact to his friend Amiles, the latter, although broken- 
hearted, unhesitatingly slays his children. Amis is imme- 
diately cured, and both knights hasten to church together 
to return thanks and inform the mother of the death of 
her little ones. The princess rushes to theii' chamber to 
mourn over their corpses, only tor discover that meantime 
they have been miraculously restored to life! This story 
is very touchingly told in the old Chanson, which contains 
many vivid and interesting descriptions of the manners 
of the time. 

In this cycle are also included Gerard de Roussillon, 
Hugues Capet, Macaire (wherein occurs the famous episode 
of the Dog of Montargis), and Huon de Bordeaux, which 
latter supplied Shakespeare, Wieland, and Weber with 
some of the dramatis personae of their well-known comedy, 
poem, and opera. We must also mention what are often 
termed the Crusade epics, of which the stock topics are 
quarrels, challenges, fights, banquets, and tournaments, and 
among which we note les Enfances de Godefroi, Antioche, 
and Tudela's Song of the Crusade against the Albigenses. 

The third great cycle is known as Matiere de Rome la 
grand, or as the antique cycle. It embodies Christianized 
versions of the doings of the heroes of the Iliad, Odyssey, 
Aeneid, Thebais, Alexandreid, etc. In their prose forms 
the Roman de Thebes, Roman de Troie, and Roman 
d 'Alexandre contain, besides, innumerable mediaeval em- 
belhshments, among others the first mention in French of 
the quest for the Fountain of Youth. 

Later on in French literature we come across the aninual 
epic, or Roman du Renard, a style of composition which 


found its latest and most finished expression in Germany 
at the hands of Goethe, and the aUegorieal epic, Le Roman 
de la Rose, wherein abstract ideas were personified, such 
as Hope, Slander (Malebouche), Danger, etc. 

There are also epie poems based on Le Combat des 
Trente and on the doings of Du Guesclin. Ronsard, in his 
Franciade, claims the Franks as lineal descendants from 
Francus, a son of Priam, and thus connects French history 
with the war of- Troy, just as Waee, in the Norman Romaa 
de Rou, traces a similar analogy between the Trojan Brutus 
and Britain. Later French poets have attempted epics, 
more or less popular in their time, among which are Alaric 
by Scuderi, Clovis by St. Sorlin, and two poems on La 
Pucelle, one by Chapelain, and the other by Voltaire. 

Next comes la Henriade, also by Voltaire, a half 
bombastic, half satirical account of Henry IV's wars 
to gain the crown of France. This poem also contains 
some very fine and justly famous passages, but is too 
long and too artificial, as a whole, to please modem readers. 

The most popular of all the French prose epics is, with- 
out dispute, Fenelon's Telemaque, or account of Tele- 
machus' journeys to find some trace of his long-absent 
father Ulysses. 

Les Martyrs by Chateaubriand, and La Legende des 
Siecles by Victor Hugo, complete the tale of important 
French epics to date, 


Introduction. The earliest and greatest of the French 
epics, or chansons de geste, is the song of Roland, of which 
the oldest copy now extant is preserved in the Bodleian 
Library and dates back to the twelfth century. Whether 
the Turoldus (Theroulde) mentioned at the end of the 
poem is poet, copyist, or mere reciter remains a matter of 

'Another version of this story can be found in the author's 
"JLegends of the Middle Ages." 


The poem is evidently based on popular songs which 
no longer exist. It consists of 4002 verses, written in 
langue d'oil, grouped in stanzas or "laisses" of irregular 
length, in the heroic pentameter, having the same assonant 
rhyme, and each ending with "aoi," a word no one has 
succeeded in translating satisfactorily. It was so popular 
that it was translated into Latin and German (1173-1177), 
and our version may be the very song sung by Taillefer at 
the battle of Hastings in 1066. 

It has inspired many poets, and Eoland's death has 
been sung again by Goethe, Schiller, Pulei, Boiardo, Ariosto, 
Bemi, Bomier, etc. History claims that French armies, 
once in the reign of Dagobert and once in that of Charle- 
magne, were attacked and slaughtered in the Pyrenees, but 
not by the Saracens. Besides, Charlemagne's secretary, 
Eginhart, briefly mentions in his chronicles that in 778, 
Roland, prefect of the Marches of Brittany, was slain 
there.^ Although the remainder of the story has no his- 
torical basis, the song of Roland is> a poetical asset we 
would not willingly relinquish. 

Part I. A Council held by King Mabsile at 
Sabagossa. — The Song of Roland opens with the statement 
that, after spending seven years in Spain, Charlemagne is 
master of all save the city of Saragossa. 

The king, our Emperor Carlemaine, 
Hath been for seven full years in Spain. 
From highland to sea hath he won the land; 
City was none might his arm withstand; 
Keep and castle alike went down — 
Save Saragossa the motmtain town.* 

It is in Saragossa that King Marsile, holding an open- 
air council, informs his followers he no longer has men 
to oppose to the Preneh. When he inquires what he shall 
do, the wisest of his advisers suggests that, when might 
fails, craft can gain the day. Therefore, he moots sending 

' See the author's " Story of Old France." 

'All the quotations in this chapter are from John O'Hagen's 
translation of the " Song of Eoland." 


gifts to Charlemagne, with a promise to follow him to 
France to do homage and receive baptism. Even should 
Charlemagne exact hostages, this councillor volunteers to 
give his own son, arguing it is better a few should fall than 
Spain be lost forever. This advice is adopted by Marsile, 
who then despatches bearers of olive branches and gifts to 

Council held hy Charlemagne at Cordova. The Saracen 
emissaries find the French emperor seated on a golden 
throne ia an orchard, his peers around him, watching the 
martial games of fifty thousand warriors. After receiving 
Marsile 's message, Charlemagne dismisses the ambassadors 
for the night, promising answer on the morrow. When he 
bids his courtiers state their opinions, Roland impetuously 
declares that, as Marsile has tricked them once, it would 
not become them to believe bini now. His step-father, 
Gauelon, thereupon terms him a hot-headed young fool, 
and avers he prizes his own glory more than his fellow- 
men's lives. The wisest among Charlemagne's advisers, 
however, Duke Naimes, argues that the Saracen's offers of 
submission should be met half-way, and, as the remainder 
of the French agree with him, Charlemagne calls for a 
messenger to bear his acceptance to Marsile. Although 
Boland, Oliver, and Naimes eagerly sue for this honor, 
Charlemagne, unwilling to spare his peers, bids them ap- 
point a baron. When Roland suggests his step-father, 
Ganelon — who deems the expedition hazardous — ^becomes 
so angry that he reviles his step-son in the emperor's pres- 
ence, vowing the youth is maliciously sending him to his 
death, and muttering he will have revenge. These violent 
threats elicit Roland's laughter, but Charlemagne checks 
the resulting quarrel by delivering message and emblems 
of office to Ganelon. To the dismay of all present, he, 
however, drops the glove his master hands him, an accident 
viewed as an omen of ill luck. Then, making speedy 
preparations and pathetically committing wife and son to 
the care of his countrymen, Ganelon starts out, fully ex- 
pecting never to return. 


The Embassy and the Crime of Ganelon. On his way 
to Saragossa, Ganelon converses with the Saracens, who 
express surprise that Charlemagne — ^whom they deem two 
hundred years old — should still long for conquest. In 
return Ganelon assures them his master will never cease 
fighting as long as Roland is one of his peers, for this knight 
is determined to conquer the world. The Saracens, noticing 
his bitter tone, now propose to rid Ganelon of his step-son, 
provided he will arrange that Roland command the rear- 
guard of the French army. Thus riding along, they devise 
the plot whereby this young hero is to be led into an ambush 
in the Valley of Roncevaux (RoncesvaUes), where, by slay- 
ing him, they will deprive Charlemagne of his main 

" For whoso Koland to death shall bring. 
From Karl his good right arm will wring. 
The marvellous host will melt away, 
No more shall he muster a like array." 

Arriving in the presence of the Saracen king, Ganelon 
reports Charlemagne ready to accept his offers, provided 
he do homage for one half of Spain and abandon the other 
to Roland. Because Ganelon adds the threat that, should 
this offer be refused, Charlemagne proposes to seize Sara- 
gossa and bear Marsile a prisoner to Aix, the Saracen king 
angrily orders the execution of the insolent messenger. 
But the Ftenchmen's truculent attitude forbids the guards' 
approach, and thus gives the ambassadors a chance to in- 
form Marsile that Ganelon has promised to help them to 
outwit Charlemagne by depriving him of his most efficient 
general Hearing this, Marsile 's anger is disarmed; and 
he not only agrees to their plan to surprise Roland while 
crossing the Pyrenees, but sends Ganelon back laden with 

On rejoining his master at the foot of the mountains, 
Ganelon delivers the keys of Saragossa, and reports that 
the caliph has sailed for the Bast, with one hundred thous- 
and men, none of whom care to dwell in a Christian land. 
Hearing this, Charlemagne, imagining his task finished. 


returns thanks to God, and prepares to wend his way back 
to France, where he expects Marsile to follow him and do 
homage for Spain. 

Karl the Great hath wasted Spain, 
Her cities sacked, her castles ta'en; 
But now "My wars are done," he cried, 
"And home to gentle France we ride." 

The Bear-guard amd Roland Condemned to Death. On 
the eve of his return to "sweet France," Charlemagne's 
rest is disfturbed by horrible dreams, in one of which Ganelon 
breaks his lance, while in the other wild animals are about 
to attack him. On awaking from this nightmare, Charle- 
magne divides his army so as to thread his way safely 
through the narrow passes of the mountains, arranging that 
a force shall remain twenty miles in his rear to make sure 
he shall not be surprised by the foe. When he inquires to 
whom this important command shall be entrusted, Ganelon 
eagerly suggests that, as Roland is the most valiant of the 
peers, the task be allotted to him. Anxious to keep his 
nephew by him, Charlemagne resents this suggestion, but, 
when he prepares to award the post to some one else, Roland 
eagerly claims it, promising France shaU lose nothing 
through him. 

" God be my judge," was the count's reply, 
"If ever I thus my race belie. 

But twenty thousand with me shall rest. 

Bravest of all your Franks and best; 

The mountain passes in safety tread, 

While I- breathe in life you have nought to dread." 

Because it is patent to all that his step-father proposed Ids 
name through spite, Roland meaningly remarks that he at 
least will not drop the insignia of his rank, and in proof 
thereof proudly clutches the bow Charlemagne hands him, 
and boastfully declares twelve peers and twenty thousand 
men will prove equal to any emergency. 

Fully armed and mounted on his steed (Veillantif ) , 
Roland, from an eminence, watches the vanguard of the 


French army disappear in the mountain gorges, calling out 
to the last men that he and his troop will follow them soon ! 
This vanguard is led by Charlemagne and Ganelon, and, 
as it passes on, the heavy tramp of the mailed steeds causes 
the ground to shake, while the clash of the soldiers' arms 
is heard for miles around. They have already travelled 
thirty miles and are just nearing France, whose sunny 
fields the soldiers greet with cries of joy, when Duke Naimes 
perceives tears flowing down the emperor's cheeks, and 
learns that they are caused by apprehension for Roland. 

High were the peaks, and the valleys deep. 

The mountains wondrous dark and steep; 

Sadly the Franks through the passes wound. 

Fully fifteen leagues did their tread resound. 

To their own great land they are drawing nigh. 

And they look on the fields of Gascony. 

They think of their homes and their manors there, 

Their gentle spouses and damsels fair. 

Is none but for pity the tear lets fall; 

But the anguish of Karl is beyond them all. 

His sister's son at the gates of Spain 

Smites on his heart, and he weeps amain. 

The evident anxiety of Charlemagne fills the hearts of 
all Frenchmen with nameless fear, and some of them 
whisper that Ganelon returned from Saragossa with sus- 
piciously rich gifts. Meantime Roland, who has merely 
been waiting for the vanguard to gain some advance, sets 
out to cross the mountains too; where, true to his agree- 
ment with Ganelon, Marsile has concealed a force of one 
hundred thousand men, led by twelve Saracen generals, 
who are considered fully equal to the French peers, and 
who have vowed to slay Roland in the passes of Roneevaux. 

Pabt II. Prelude to the Great Battle. It is only 
when the Saracen army is beginning to close in upon the 
French, that the peers become aware of their danger. Oliver, 
Roland 's bosom friend, the first to descry the enemy, calls 
out that this ambush is the result of Ganelon 's treachery, 
only to be silenced by Roland, who avers none shall accuse 
his step-father without proof. Then, hearing of the large 
force approaching, Roland exclaims, "Cursed be he who 


flees, ' ' and admonishes all present to show their mettle and 
die fighting bravely. 

The Pride of Roland. Because the enemies' force so 
greatly outnumbers theirs, Oliver suggests that Roland 
soimd his horn to summon Charlemagne to his aid; but, 
unwilling to lose any glory, this hero refuses, declaring he 
will strike one hundred thousand such doughty blows with 
his mighty sword (Durendal), that all the pagans wiU be 
laid low. 

"Roland, Roland, yet wind one blast! 

Karl will hear ere the gorge be passed. 

And the Franks return on their path full fast." 
" I will not sound on mine ivory horn: 

It shall never be spoken of me in scorn. 

That for heathen felons one blast I blew; 

I may not dishonor my lineage true. 

But I will strike, ere this fight be o'er, 

A thousand strokes and seven hundred more, 

And my Durindana shall drip with gore. 

Our Franks will bear them like vassals brave. 

The Saracens flock but to find a grave." 

In spite of the fact that Oliver thrice implores him to 
summon aid, Roland thrice refuses ; so his friend, perceiving 
he win not yield, finally declares they must do their best, 
and adds that, should they not get the better of the foe, 
they will at least die fighting nobly. Then Archbishop 
Turpin — one of the peers — assures the soldiers that, since 
they are about to die as martyrs, they will earn Paradise, 
and pronounces the absolution, thus inspiring the French 
with such courage that, on rising from their knees, they 
rush forward to earn a heavenly crown. 

Riding at their head, Roland now admits to Oliver that 
Ganelon must have betrayed them, grimly adding that the 
Saracens will have cause to rue their treachery before long. 
Then he leads his army down the valley to a more open 
space, where, as soon as the signal is given, both friends 
plunge into the fray, shouting their war-cry ("Montjoie"). 

The Medley. In the first ranks of the Saracens is a 
nephew of Marsile, who loudly boasts Charlemagne is 
about to lose his right arm ; but, before he can repeat this 


taunt, Eoland, spurring forward, runs his lance through 
his body and hurls it to the ground with a turn of his 
wrist. Then, calling out to his men that they have scored 
the first triumph, Roland proceeds to do tremendous execu- 
tion among the foe. The poem describes many of the 
duels which take place, — ^for each of the twelve peers 
specially distinguishes himself, — while the Saracens, con- 
scious of vastly superior numbers, return again and again 
to the attack. Even the archbishop fights bravely, and 
Roland, after dealing fifteen deadly strokes with his lance, 
resorts to his sword, thus meeting the Saracens at such 
close quarters that every stroke of his blade hews through 
armor, rider, and steed. 

At the last it brake; then he grasped in hand 
His Durindana, his naked brand. 
He smote Chernubles' helm upon, 
Where, in the centre, carbuncles shone: 
Down through his coif and his fell of hair. 
Betwixt his eyes came the falchion bare, 
Down through his plated harness fine, 
Down through the Saracen's chest and chine, 
Down through the saddle with gold inlaid, 
Till sank in the living horse the blade, 
Severed the spine where no joint was found. 
And horse and rider lay dead on ground. 

In spite of Roland's doughty blows, his good sword 
suffers no harm, nor does that of Oliver (Hauteelaire), with 
which he does such good work that Eoland assures him he 
win henceforth consider him a brother. Although the 
French slay the pagans by thousands, so many of their own 
warriors fall, that, by the time they have repulsed the first 
Saracen division, only sixty of Roland's men remain alive. 

All nature seems to feel the terrible battle raging in 
the valley of Roncevaux, for a terrible storm breaks forth 
in France, where, hearing the roll of the thunder, seeing 
the flash of the lightning, and feeling the earth shake be- 
neath their feet, the French fear the end of the world has 
come. These poor warriors are little aware that all this 
commotion is due to "nature's grief for the death of 


Now a wondrous storm o'er France hath passed. 

With thunder-stroke and whirlwind's blast; 

Rain unmeasured, and hail, there came. 

Sharp and sudden the lightning's flame; 

And an earthquake ran — the sooth I say. 

From Besancon city to Wissant Bay; 

From Saint Michael's Mount to thy shrine, Cologne, 

House unrifted was there none. 

And a darkness spread in the noontide high — 

No light, save gleams from the cloven sky. 

On all who saw came a mighty fear. 

They said, " Tha end of the world is near." 

Alas, they spake but with idle breath, — 

'Tis the great lament for Roland's death. 

The Horn. During the brief respite allowed them, 
Roland informs Oliver that he wishes to notify Charlemagne 
that France has been widowed of many men. In reply, 
Oliver rejoins that no Frenchman will leave this spot to 
bear such a message, seeing all prefer death and honor to 
safety ! Such being the case, Roland proposes to sound Ms 
horn, whereupon Oliver bitterly rejoins, had his friend 
only done so at first, they would have been reinforced by 
now, and that the emperor can no longer reach them in 
time. He can, however, avenge them and give them an 
honorable burial, Roland argues, and he and his friend 
continue bickering until the archbishop silences them, bid- 
ding Roland blow his horn. Placing Olifant to his lips, 
the hero, after drawing a powerful breath, blows so mighty 
a blast that it re-echoes thirty miles away. 

This sound, striking Charlemagne's ear, warns him that 
his army is in danger, although Ganelon insists Roland is 
hunting. While blowing a second blast, Roland makes so 
mighty an effort that he actually bursts the blood-vessels in 
his temples, and the Frenchmen, hearing that caU, aver with 
awe that he would never call that way unless in dire peril. 
Ganelon, however, again insists that his step-son is in no 
danger and is merely coursing a hare. 

With deadly travail, in stress and pain. 
Count Roland sounded the mighty strain. 
Forth from his mouth the bright blood sprang, 
And his temples burst for the very pang. 

From the painting by L. F. Guesnet 


On and onward was borne the blast. 

Till Karl hath heard as the gorge he passed, 

And Naimes and all his men of war. 

" It is Roland's horn," said the Emperor, 

"And, save in battle, he had not blown." 

"With blood pouring from mouth' and ears, Roland 
sounds his horn a third and last time, producing so long and 
despairing a note, that Naimes vows the French must be at 
the last extremity, and that unless they hurry they will not 
find any alive ! Bidding all his horns sound as a signal that 
he is coming, Charlemagne — after ordering Ganelon bound 
and left in charge of the baggage train — leads his men 
back to Spain to Roland's rescue. 

As the day is already far advanced, helmets and armors 
glitter beneath the rays of the setting sun as the French- 
men spur along, tears coursing down their cheeks, for they 
apprehend what must have befallen Roland, who was evi- 
dently suffering when he blew that third blast ! 

The Bout. Meanwhile, casting his eyes over the battle- 
field, now strewn with corpses, Roland mourns his fallen 
companions, praying God to let their souls rest in Paradise 
on beds of flowers. Then, turning to Oliver, he proposes 
that they fight on as long as breath remains in their bodies, 
before he plunges back into the fray, still uttering his war- 

By this time the French are facing a second onslaught 
of the pagans, and Roland has felled twenty-four of their 
bravest fighters before Marsile challenges him to a duel. 
Although weak and weary, Roland accepts, and with his 
first stroke hews off the Saracen's right hand; but, before 
he can foUow this up with a more decisive blow, Marsile 
is borne away by his followers. Seeing their master gallop 
off towards Spain, the remainder of the Saracens, crying 
that Charlemagne's nephew has triumphed, cease fighting 
and flee. Thus, fifty thousand men soon vanish in the 
distance, leaving Roland temporary master of the battle- 
field, which he knows the emperor will reach only after 
he has breathed his last. 


The Death of Oliver. Although the Saracens, have fled, 
some Moors remain to charge the Frenchmen, whom they 
wish to annihilate before Charlemagne can arrive. Once 
more, therefore, Roland urges his followers to do their 
best, cursing those who dream of yielding. Not daring ap- 
proach the small handful of doughty Frenchmen, the pagans 
attack them from a distance with lance, arrow, and spear, 
tauntingly crying Charlemagne will have no cause to pride 
himself upon having appointed them to guard his rear! 
Mortally wounded by one of these spears, Oliver, blindly 
cutting down the foes nearest him, bids Roland hasten to 
his rescue, as it won't be long before they part. Seeing 
the stream of blood which flows from his friend's wounds 
and catching a glimpse of his livid face, Roland so keenly 
realizes Oliver's end is near that he swoons in his saddle. 
The wounded man, no longer able to see, meanwhile ranges 
wildly around the battle-field, striking madly right and 
left. In doing so he runs against Roland, and, failing to 
recognize him, deals him so powerful a blow that he almost 
kills him. Gently inquiring why his friend thus attacks 
one he loves, Roland hears Oliver gasp, "I hear you, friend, 
but do not see you. Forgive me for having struck you, ' ' — 
a more than ample apology, — ere he dies. 

See Eoland there on his charger stwooned, 

Olivier smitten with his death wound. 

His eyes from bleeding are dimmed and dark, 

Nor mortal, near or far, can mark; 

And when his comrade beside him pressed, 

Fiercely he smote on his golden crest; 

Down to the nasal the helm he shred, 

But passed no further, nor pierced his head. 

Roland marvelled at such a blow, 

And thus bespake him soft and low: 
"Hast thou done it, my comrade, wittingly? 

Roland who loves thee so dear, am I, 

Thou hast no quarrel with me to seek.'' 

Olivier answered, " I hear thee speak. 

But I see thee not. God seeth thee. 

Have I struck thee, brother? Forgive it me." 
" I am not hurt, O Olivier ; 

And in sight of God, I forgive thee here.'' 

Then each to other his head has laid, 

And in love like this was their parting made. 


On seeing that his friend has passed away, the heart- 
broken Roland again swoons in his saddle, but his in- 
telligent steed stands still until his master recovers his 
senses. Gazing around him, Roland now ascertains that 
only two other Frenchmen are still alive, and, seeing one 
of them severely wounded, he binds up his cuts before 
plunging back into the fray, where he accounts for twenty- 
five pagans, while the archbishop and the wounded soldier 
dispose of eleven more. 

Charlemagne Approaches. The last Frenchmen are 
fighting madly against a thousand Moors on foot and four 
thousand on horseback, when the spears flung from a dis- 
tance lay low the wounded man and deal a mortal wound 
to the archbishop. But, even while dying, Turpin joins 
Roland in declaring they must continue to fight, so that 
when the emperor finds their bodies he can see they have 
piled hundreds of corpses around them. This resolve is 
carried out, however, only at the cost of dire suffering, 
for the archbishop is dying and Roland's burst temples 
cause him intense pain. Nevertheless, he once more puts 
his horn to his lips, and draws from it this time so pitiful 
a blast that, when it reaches the ears of Charlemagne, he 
woefully exclaims: "All is going ill; my nephew Roland 
will die to-day, for the sound of his horn is very weak!" 

Again bidding his sixty thousand trumpets sound, the 
emperor urges his troops to even greater speed, until the 
noise of his horns and the tramp of his steeds reaches the 
pagans' ears and admonishes them to flee. Realizing that, 
should Roland survive, the war will continue, a few Moors 
make a final frantic attempt to slay him before fleeing. 
Seeing them advance for a last onslaught, Roland — ^who 
has dismounted for a moment — again bestrides his steed 
and, accompanied by the staggering archbishop, bravely 
faces them. They, however, only fling missiles from a 
distance, until Roland's shield drops useless from his hand 
and his steed sinks lifeless beneath him ! Then, springing 
to his feet, Roland defies these cowardly foes, who, not 
daring to linger any longer, turn 'and flee, crying that 


Eoland has won and Spain is lost unless the emir comes to 
their rescue! 

The Last Blessing of the Archbishop. While the pagans 
are spurring towards Saragossa, Eoland remains on the 
battle-field, for, having lost his steed and being mortally 
wounded, he cannot attempt to pursue them. After tenderly- 
removing the archbishop's armor, binding up his wounds, 
and placing him comfortably on the ground, Roland brings 
him the twelve peers, so he can bless them for the last 
time. Although Archbishop Turpin admonishes him to 
hasten, Roland is so weak, that he slowly and painfully 
collects the corpses from mountain and valley, laying them 
one by one at the feet of the archbishop, who, with right 
hand raised, bestows his blessing. WhUe laying Oliver at 
Turpin 's feet, Roland faints from grief, so the prelate pain- 
fully raises himself, and, seizing the hero's horn, tries to 
get down to the brook to bring him some water. Such is 
his weakness, however, that he stumbles and falls dead, 
face to the ground, before he can fulfil his kindly intention. 

On recovering consciousness and seeing nothing save 
corpses around him, Roland exults to think that Charle- 
magne will find forty dead Saracens for every slain French- 
man ! Then, feeling his brain slowly ooze out through his 
ears, Roland — after reciting a prayer for his dead com- 
panions — grasps his sword in one hand and his horn in 
th© other, and begins to climb a neighboring hill. He 
tries to reach its summit because he has always. boasted 
he would die face toward the enemy, and he longs to look 
defiance toward Spain until the end. 

Painfully reaching the top of this eminence, Roland 
stumbles and falls across a Saracen, who has been feigning 
death to escape capture. Seeing the dreaded warrior un- 
conscious, this coward seizes his sword, loudly proclaiming 
he has triumphed ; but, at his first touch, Roland — ^recover- 
ing his senses — deals him so mighty a blow with his horn, 
that the Saracen falls with crushed helmet and skull. Hav- 
ing thus recovered his beloved Durendal, Roland, to pre- 
vent its again falling into the enemy's hands, vainly tries 


to break it by hewing at the rocks around him, but, although 
he uses all the strength he has left to deal blows that cut 
through the stone, the good sword remains undinted. Full 
of admiration, Roland then recalls the feats Durendal has 
enabled him to perform, and, lying down on the grass, 
places beneath him sword and horn, so as to defend them 
dead as well as alive ! Then, having confessed his sins and 
recited a last prayer, Roland holds out his glove toward 
heaven, in token that he surrenders his soul to God, and 
begs that an angel be sent to receive it from his hand. 
Thus, lying beneath a pine, his face toward Spain, his last 
thoughts for France and for God, Roland dies in the 
presence of the angels, who bear his soul off to Paradise. 

Roland feeleth his hour at hand; 
On a knoll he lies towards the Spanish land. 
With one hand beats he upon his breast: 
"In thy sight, O God, be my sins confessed. 
Prom my hour of birth, both the great and small, 
Down to this day, I repent of all." 
As his glove he raises to God on high. 
Angels of heaven descend him nigh. 

Pakt III. Rbpbisals. Roland has barely breathed his 
last when Charlemagne arrives on the battle-field and, gaz- 
ing around him, perceives nothing but corpses. Receiving 
no answer to his repeated call for the twelve peers, Charle- 
magne groans it was not without cause he felt anxious and 
mourns that he was not there to take part in the fray. He 
and his men weep aloud for their fallen companions, and 
twenty thousand soldiers swoon from grief at the sight of 
the havoc which has been made ! 

Still, only a few moments can be devoted to sorrow, for 
Duke Naimes, descrying a cloud of dust in the distance, 
eagerly suggests that if they ride on they can yet overtake 
and punish the foe ! Detailing a small detachment to guard 
the dead, Charlemagne orders the pursuit of the Saracens, 
and, seeing the sun about to set, prays so fervently that 
daylight may last, that an angel promises he shall have 
light as long as he needs it. Thanks to this miracle, Charle- 



magne overtakes the Saracens just as they are about to 
cross the Ebro, and, after killing many, drives the rest into 
the river, where they are drowned. 

It is only when the last of the foe has been disposed of 
that the sun sets, and, perceiving it is too late to return to 
Roncevaux that night, Charlemagne gives orders to camp 
on the plain. While his weary men sleep peacefully, the 
emperor himself spends the night mourning for Roland and 
for the brave Frenchmen who died to defend his cause, 
so it is only toward morning that he enjoys a brief nap, 
during which visions foreshadow the punishment to be in- 
flicted upon Ganelon and all who uphold him. 

In the mead the Emperor made his bed. 
With his mighty spear beside his head. 
Nor will he doff his arms to-night, 
But lies in his broidered hauberk white. 
Laced is his helm, with gold inlaid. 
Girt on Joyeuse, the peerless blade. 
Which changes thirty times a day 
The brightness of its varying ray. 

Meanwhile the wounded Marsile has returned to Sara- 
gossa, where, while binding up his wounds, his wife com- 
ments it is strange no one has been able to get the better 
of such an old man as Charlemagne, and exclaims the last 
hope of the Saracens now rests in the emir, who has just 
landed in Spain. 

At dawn the emperor returns to Roncevaux, and there 
begins his sad search for the bodies of the peers. Sure 
Roland will be found facing the foe, he seeks for his corpse 
in the direction of Spain, and, discovering him at last on 
the little hill, swoons from grief. Then, recovering his 
senses, Charlemagne prays God to receive his nephew's 
soul, and, after pointing out to his men how bravely the 
peers fought, gives orders for the burial of the dead, re- 
serving only the bodies of Roland, Oliver, and' the arch- 
bishop, for burial in France. 

The last respects have barely been paid to the fallen, 
when a Saracen herald summons Charlemagne to meet the 
emir. So the French mount to engage in a new battle. 


Such is the stimulus of Charlemagne's words and of his ex- 
ample, that all his men do wonders. The aged emperor 
himself finally engages in a duel with the emir, in the 
midst of which he is about to succumb, when an angel 
bids him strike one more blow, promising he shall triumph. 
Thus stimulated, Charlemagne slays the emir, and the 
Saracens, seeing their leader slain, flee, closely pursued by 
the Frenchmen, who enter Saragossa in their wake. There, 
after killing aU the men, they pillage the town. 

On discovering that Marsile has meantime died of his 
wound, Charlemagne orders his widow to France, where he 
proposes to convert her through the power of love. The 
remainder of the pagans are compelled to receive baptism, 
and, when Charlemagne again wends his way through the 
Pyrenees, all Spain bows beneath his sceptre. 

At Bordeaux, Charlemagne deposits upon the altar of 
St. Severin, Roland's Olifant, filled with gold pieces, before 
personally escorting the three august corpses to Blaye, 
where he sees them interred, ere he hurries on to Aix-la- 
Chapelle to judge Ganelon. 

The Chastisement of Ocmelon. On arriving in his 
palace, Charlemagne is confronted by Alda or Aude, a 
sister of Oliver, who frantically questions: "Where is 
Boland who has sworn to take me to wife?" Weeping bit- 
terly, Charlemagne informs her his nephew is no more, 
adding that she can marry his son, but Aude rejoins that, 
since her beloved is gone, she no longer wishes to live. 
These words uttered, she falls lifeless at the emperor's feet." 

From Spain the emperor made retreat. 

To Aix in France, his kingly seat; 

And thither, to his halls, there came, 

Alda, the fair and gentle dame. 
"Where is my Boland, sire," she cried, 
"Who vowed to take me for his bride?" 

O'er Karl the flood of sorrow swept; 

He tore his beard, and loudly wept. 
"Dear sister, gentle friend," he said, 
"Thou seekest one who lieth dead: 

I plight to thee my son instead, — 

• See the author's " Legends of the Rhine." 


Louis, who lord of my realm shall be." 
" Strange," she said, " seems this to me. 
Crod and His angels forbid that I 
Should live on earth if Roland die." 
Pale grew her cheek — she sank amain, 
Down at the feet of Carlemaine. 
So died she. God receive her soul! 
The Franks bewail her in grief and dole. 

The time having come for the trial, Ganelon appears 
before his judges, laden with chains and tied to a stake 
as if he were a wild beast. "When accused of depriving 
Charlemagne of twenty thousand Frenchmen, Ganelon re- 
torts he did so merely to avenge his wrongs, and hotly 
denies having acted as a traitor. Thirty of his kinsmen 
sustain him in this assertion, one of them even volunteering 
to meet the emperor's champion in a judicial duel. As 
the imperial champion wins, Ganelon and his relatives are 
adjudged guilty, but, whereas the latter thirty are merely 
hanged, the traitor himself is bound to wild horses until 
torn asunder. 

Having thus done justice, Charlemagne informs his 
courtiers they are to attend the baptism of a Saracen lady 
of high degree, who is about to be received into the bosom 
of the church. 

The men of Bavaria and Allemaine, 

Norman and Breton return again, 

And with all the Franks aloud they cry. 

That Gan a traitor's death shall die. 

They bade be brought four stallions fleet; , 

Bound to them Ganelon, hands and feet: 

Wild and swift was each savage steed, 

And a mare was standing within the mead; 

Four grooms impelled the coursers on, — 

A fearful ending for Ganelon. 

His every nerve was stretched and torn, 

And the limbs of his body apart were borne; 

The bright blood, springing from every vein, 

Left on the herbage green its stain. 

He dies a felon and recreant: 

Never shall traitor his treason vaunt. 

End of the Song. Having thus punished the traitor 
and converted the heathen, Charlemagne, Ijring in his 
chamber one night, receives a visit from the angel Gabriel, 


who bids him go forth and do further battle against the 
pagans. Weary of warfare and longing for rest, the aged 
emperor moans, "God, how painful is my life!" for he 
knows he must obey. 

When the emperor's justice was satisfied, 

His mighty wrath did awhile subside. 

Queen Bramimonde was a Christian made. 

The day passed on into night's dark shade; 

As the king in his vaulted chamber lay, 

Saint Gabriel came from God to say, 
"Karl, thou shalt summon thine empire's host. 

And march in haste to Bira's coast; 

Unto Impha city relief to bring. 

And succor Vivian, the Christian king. 

The heathens in siege have the town essayed. 

And the shattered Christians invoke thine aid." 

Fain would Karl such task decline. 
"God! what a life of toil is mine! " 

He wept; his hoary beard he wrung. 

Here ends the Song of Theroulde. 


Who would list to the good lay 
Gladness of the captive grey? 
'Tis how two young lovers met, 
Aucassin and Nicolette, 
Of the pains the lover bore 
And the sorrow he outwore. 
For the goodness and the grace. 
Of his love, so fair of face. 

Sweet the song, the story sweet, 
There is no man hearkens it. 
No man living 'neath the sun, 
So outwearied, so foredone, 
Sick and woful, worn and sad. 
But is healed, but is glad. 

'Tis so sweet. 
So say they, speak they, tell they the tale." 

This popular mediaeval ballad is in alternate fragments 
of verse and prose, and relates how the Count of Valence 

"All the quotations in this chapter are from Andrew Lang's 
version of " Aucassin and Nicolette." 


made desperate war against the Count of Biauoaire, a 
very old and frail man, who saw that his castle was in 
imminent danger of being taken and sacked. In his dis- 
tress, this old lord besought his son Aucassin, who so far 
had taken no interest in the war, to go forth and fight. The 
youth, however, refused to do so, saying his heart was 
wrapped up in love for Nicolette, a fair slave belonging to a 
captain in town. This man, seeing the delicacy of his slave 
and realizing she must belong to some good family, had her 
baptized and treated her as if she were an adopted daughter. 

On account of Nicolette 's lowly condition, Aucassin 's 
father refuses to listen when the young man proposes to 
marry her, and sternly bids him think of a wife better 
suited to his rank. The young lover, however, vehemently 
insists that Nicolette is fit to be an empress, and vows 
he will not fight until he has won her for his own. On 
seeing how intractable this youth is, the father beseeches 
the owner of the slave to clap her in prison, so that Aucassin 
will not be able to get at her in any way. 

Heart-broken to think that his lady-love is undergoing 
captivity in his behalf, Aucassin spends his time mo- 
ping. To induce him to fight, his father finally promises 
that if he will go forth and drive away the foe he will 
be allowed to see Nicolette and kiss her. The prospect of 
such a reward so fires the young hero, that he sallies forth, 
routs the besiegers, and, seizing the Count of Valence, 
brings him back a prisoner. On entering the castle, he 
immediately begins to clamor for Nicolette, but his father 
now declares he would rather see the maiden burned as a 
witch than to let his son have anything more to do with her. 
Hearing this, Aucassin indignantly declares such being the 
case he will free his prisoner, an act of generosity which 
infuriates his father, who hopes to be enriched by the 
count's ransom. To punish Aucassin, the Count of Biau- 
caire now thrusts him into prison, but, although the lovers 
are sharing the same fate, they languish apart, and, there- 
fore, spend all their time lamenting. 

One night, when the moon is shining bright, Nico- 


lette, who has heard she is likely to be brought to trial 
and burned, decides to eflEect her escape. As the old 
woman who mounts guard over her is fast asleep, she 
softly ties together her sheets and towels, and, fastening 
them to a pillar, lets herself down by the window into the 
garden, from whence she timidly steals out into the night. 

The poem now artlessly describes Nicolette's beauty as 
she trips over the dewy grass, her tremors as she slips 
through the postern gate, and her lingering at the foot of 
the tower where her lover is imprisoned. While pausing 
there, Nicolette overhears his voice lamenting, and, thrust- 
ing her head into an aperture in the wall, tells him that 
she is about to escape and that as soon as she is gone they 
will set him free. To convince her lover that it is she who 
is talking, Nicolette cuts off a golden curl, which she drops 
down into his dungeon, repeating that she must flee. But 
Aucassin beseeches her not to go, knowing a young maid 
is exposed to countless dangers out in the world, and 
vehemently declares he would die were any one to lay a 
finger upon her. He adds that she alone shall be his wife, 
and that the mere thought of her belonging to any one else 
is unendurable. This declaration of love cheers poor 
Nicolette, who is so entranced by her lover's words that 
she fails to notice the approach of a patrol. A young 
sentinel, however, peering down from the walls, touched 
by Nicolette's beauty and by the plight of these young 
lovers, warns them of their danger. But not daring to 
speak openly to Nicolette, he chants a musical warning, 
which comes just in time to enable her to hide behind a 
pillar. There she cowers until the guards pass by, then, 
sUpping down into the dry moat, — although it is a perilous 
undertaking, — she painfully climbs up its other side and 
seeks refuge in a neighboring forest, where, although the 
poem informs us there are "beasts serpentine," she feels 
safer than in town. 

It is while wandering in this wilderness that Nicolette 
runs across some shepherds, whom she bribes to go and tell 
Aucassin a wild beast is ranging through the forest, and 


that he should come and slay it as soon as possible. Having 
thus devised means to entice her lover out of Biaucaire, 
Nicolette wanders on until she reaches a lovely spot, where 
she erects a rustic lodge,, decking it with the brightest 
flowers she can find, in hopes that her lover, when weary 
of hunting, will rest beneath its flowery roof, and guess that 
it was erected by her fair hands. 

Meantime the Count of Biaucaire, hearing Nicolette has 
vanished, sets his son free, and, seeing him sunk in melan- 
choly, urges him to go out and hunt, thinking the exercise 
may make hiTn forget the loss of his beloved. Still, it is 
only when shepherds come and report that a wild beast is 
ranging through the forest, that the youth mounts his steed 
and sallies forth, his father little suspecting that instead 
of tracking game, he is bent on seeking traces of his beloved. 

Ere long Aucassin encounters an old charcoal-burner, 
to whom he confides his loss, and who assures him such a 
sorrow is nothing compared to his own. On discovering 
that the poor man's tears can be stayed with money, 
Aucassin bestows upon him the small sum he needs, receiv- 
ing in return the information that a lovely maiden has been 
seen in the forest. Continuiag his quest, Aucassin comes 
in due time to the flowery bower, and, finding it empty, 
sings his love and sorrow in tones that reach Nicolette 's 
ear. Then, dismounting from his horse to rest here for the 
night, Aucassin manages to sprain his shoulder. Thereupon 
Nicolette steals into the bower and takes immediate meas- 
ures to mitigate the pain. 

The mere fact that Nicolette is beside him helps 
Aucassin to forget everything else, and it is only after the 
first raptures are over, that they decide not to linger in the 
forest, where the Count of Biaucaire will soon find and 
separate them. To prevent such a calamity, they decide to 
depart together, and, as there is no extra steed for Nico- 
lette to ride, her lover lifts her up on his horse before 
him, clasping her tight and kissing her repeatedly as they 
gallop along. 


Aucassin the Franc; the fair, 

Aucassin of yellow hair. 

Gentle knight, and true lover. 

From the forest doth he fare. 

Holds his love before him there. 

Kissing cheek, and chin, arid eyes; 

But she spake in sober wise, 
"Aucassin, true love and fair. 

To what land do we repair?" 
" Sweet my love, I take no care. 

Thou art with me everywhere! " 

So they pass the woods and downs. 

Pass tiie villages and towns. 

Hills and dales and open land. 

Came at dawn to the sea sand. 

Lighted down upon the strand. 
Beside the sea. 

Thus the lovers travel all night, reach the sea-shore at 
dawn, and wander along it, arms twined around each other, 
while their weary steed follows them with drooped head. 

At sunrise a vessel nears the shore, upon which they 
embark to get out of reach of the wrath of the Count of 
Biaucaire. The vessel, however, is soon overtaken by a 
terrible tempest, which, after tossing it about for seven 
days, drives it into the harbor of Torelore. This is the 
mediaeval "topsy-turvy land," for on entering the castle 
Aucassin learns that the king is lying abed, because a son 
has been bom to him, while the queen is at the head of 
the army fighting! This state of affairs so incenses 
Aucassin, that armed with a big stick he enters the king's 
room, gives him a good beating, and wrings from him a 
promise that no man in his country will ever lie abed again 
when a child is bom, or send his wife out to do hard work. 
Having effected this reform in the land of Torelore, Aucas- 
sin and Nicolette dwell there peacefully for three years, at 
the end of which time the castle is taken by some Saracens. 
They immediately proceed to sack it, carrying off its in- 
mates to sell them as slaves. Bound fast, Aucassin and 
Nicolette are thrust into separate ships, but, although these 
are going to the same port, a sudden tempest drives the 
vessel in which Aucassin lies to the shore of Biaucaire. 
There the people capture it, and finding their young master, 


set l iini free, and invite him to take possession of his castle, 
for, his father having died during his absence, he is now 
master of all he surveys. 

Meantime Nicolette, landing at Carthage, discovers that 
this is her native town, and recognizes in her captors — ^her 
father and brothers. They are so overjoyed at recovering 
this long-lost sister that they propose to keep her with 
them, but Nicolette assures them she will never be happy 
until she rejoins Aucassin. Meantime she learns to play on 
the viol, and, when she has attained proficiency on this in- 
strument, sets out in the guise of a wandering minstrel to 
seek her beloved. Conveyed by her brothers to the land 
of Biaucaire, Nicolette, soon after landing, hears that 
Aucassin, who has recently returned, is sorely bewailing 
the loss of his beloved. Presenting herself before Aucassin, 
— ^who does not recognize her owing to the disguise, — 
Nicolette plays so charmingly that she draws tears from his 
eyes. Then she begs to know his sorrows, and, on hearing 
he has lost his lady-love, suggests he woo the king of 
Carthage's daughter. Loudly averring he will never woo 
any one save Nicolette, Aucassin turns sadly away, where- 
upon the strolling minstrel assures him he shall see his be- 
loved before long. Although it seems impossible to Aucas- 
sin that this prediction should be verified, Nicolette has 
little difficulty in fulfiilling her promise, for, hastening back 
to her old home, she obtains some of her own clothes, and, 
thus restored to her wonted appearance, presents herself 
before the delighted Aucassin, who, overjoyed to see her 
once more, clasps her rapturously to his heart. 

The baUad adds that the two lovers, iinited for good and 
all, lived happy ever after, and were an example to all 
faithful lovers in the beautiful land of Biaucaire. 

Many years abode they there, 
Many years in shade or sun, 
In great gladness and delight. 
Ne'er had Aucassin regret, 
Nor his lady Nicolette. 
Now my story all is done — 
Said and sung! 


LiTEBATxmE was bom in Spain only when the Christians 
began to reconquer their country from the Moors. The 
first literary efforts therefore naturally reflected a warlike 
spirit, and thus assumed the epic form. Very few of these 
poems still exist in their original shape save the Poema del 
Cid, the great epio treasure of Spain, as well as the oldest 
monument of Spanish literature. Besides this poem, there 
exist fragments of epics on the Infantes of Lara and on 
Feman Gonzales, and hints of others of which no traces 
now remain. These poems were popularized in Spain by 
the juglares, who invented Bernardo del Carpio so as to 
have a hero worthy to off-set to the Roland of the jongleurs, 
— ^their French neighbors. But the poems about this hero 
have all perished, and his fame is preserved only in the 
prose chronicles. In the Cronica rimada of the thirteenth 
century, we discover an account of the Cid's youth, together 
witTi the episode where he slays Ximena's father, which 
supplied Comeille vrith the main theme of his tragedy. 

The Spaniards also boast of a thirteenth century poem 
of some twenty-five hundred stanzas on the life of 
Alexander, a fourteenth century romance about Tristan, 
and the chivalric romance of Amadis de Gaule, which set 
the fashion for hosts of similar works, whose popularity 
had already begun to wane when Cervantes scotched all 
further attempts of this sort 'by turning the chivalric ro- 
mance into ridicule in his Don Quixote. 

The Spaniards also cultivated the epic ballad, or ro- 
maneeros, previous to the Golden Age of their literature 
(1550-1700), drawing their subjects from the history or 
legends of France and Spain, and treating mainly of ques- 
tions of chivalry and love. Arthur, the Bound Table, and 
the Quest for the Holy Grail, were their stock subjects, 
previous to the appearance of Amadis de Gaule, a work of 
original fiction remodelled and extended in the fifteenth 



century by Garcia Ordonez de Montalvo. During the 
Golden Age, Spain boasts more than two hundred artificial 
epics, treating of religious, political, and historical matters. 
Among these the Auracana of Erzilla, the Argentina of 
Centenera, and the Austriada of Rufo can be mentioned. 
Then Velasco revived the Aeneid for his countrymen's 
benefit, and religious themes such as Azevedo's Creacion del 
Munde became popular. 

The latest of the Spanish epics is that of Saavedra, 
who, in his El Moro Exposito, has cleverly revived the old 
Spanish legend of the Infantes of Lara. It is, however, the 
Cid which is always quoted as Spain's representative epic. 


This poem, of some three thousand seven hundred lines, 
is divided into two cantos, and was written about 1200. 
It is a compilation from extant ballads in regard to the 
great Spanish hero Rodrigo Diaz de Bivar, bom between 
1030 and 1040, whose heroic deeds were performed at the 
time when the Christian kings were making special efforts 
to eject the Moors, who had invaded Spain three hundred 
years before. 

The first feat mentioned relates that Rodrigo 's father, 
having been insulted by Don Gomez, pined at the thought 
of leaving this afifront unavenged, until his son, who had 
never fought before, volunteered to defend him. Not only 
did Rodrigo challenge and slay Don Gomez, but cutting off 
his head bore it to his father as a proof that his enemy was 
dead, a feat which so pleased the old gentleman that he 
declared Rodrigo should henceforth be head of the family. 

After thus signalizing himself, Rodrigo was suddenly 
called upon to 'face five Moorish kings who had been making 
sallies into Castile. Not only did he defeat them, but took 
them prisoners, thereby winning from them the title by 
which he is commonly known, of "The Cid" or ' ' The Lord. " 

Shortly after this Donna Ximena, daughter of Don 
Gomez, appeared before King Ferrando demanding satia- 

THE CID 109 

faction for her father's death, and consenting to forego 
revenge only on condition that Rodrigo would marry her. 
The young hero having assented, the couple were united in 
the presence of the king, after which Rodrigo took his beau- 
tiful bride to his mother, with whom he left her until he 
had earned the right to claim her by distinguishing himself 
in some way. 

It seems that Ferrando of Castile was then disputing 
from the king of Aragon- the possession of Calahorra, a 
frontier town. Both monarchs decided to settle their dif- 
ference by a duel, stipulating that the town should belong 
to the party whose champion triumphed. 

Ferrando having selected Rodrigo as his champion, our 
hero set out to meet his opponent, delaying on the way 
long enough to rescue a leper from a bog. Then, placing 
this unfortunate on his horse before him, Rodrigo bore him 
to an inn, where, in spite of the remonstrances of his fol- 
lowers, he allowed the leper to share his bed and board. 
That night, while lying beside his loathsome bed-fellow, 
Rodrigo suddenly felt a cold breath pass through him, and, 
on investigating, discovered that his companion was gone. 
He beheld in his stead St. Lazarus, who proclaimed that, 
since Rodrigo had been so charitable, he would meet with 
prosperity, and might know whenever he felt a cold shiver 
run down his spine that it was an omen of success. Thus 
encouraged, Rodrigo rode on to take part in the duel, but 
he had been so delayed that the battle caU had already 
sounded, and Alvar Fanez, his cousin, was preparing to 
fight in his stead. Bidding his cousin step aside, Rodrigo 
entered the lists, and soon won Oalahorra for Ferrando. 

Pleased with what Rodrigo had done, the king now 
showered honors upon him, which so aroused the jealousy 
of the courtiers that they began to conspire with the Moors 
to ruin him. It happened, however, that they addressed 
their first proposals to the very kings whom Rodrigo hadi 
conquered, and who proved loyal enough to send him word 
of the plot. On discovering the treachery of the courtiers, 
the king banished them, but tiie wife of Don Garcia pleaded 


so eloquently with the Cid, that he furnished the banished 
man with letters of introduction to one of the Moorish kings, 
who, to please his conqueror, bestowed the city of Cabra 
upon him. 

Although treated with such generosity, Don Garcia 
proved ungrateful, and even tried to cheat the Moors. 
Hearing this, the Cid, sidrag with his former enemies,' 
came into their country to take away from Don Garcia the 
city which had been allotted for his use. 

During one of Ferrando's absences from home, the Moors 
invaded one of his provinces, whereupon Rodrigo, in re- 
taliation, besieged the city of Coimbra. "While he was thus 
engaged his army suffered so much from lack of provisions 
that it finally seemed as if he would have to give up his 
undertaking. But the monks, who had advised the Cid to 
besiege the city, now came to his rescue, and by feeding his 
army from their own stores enabled Rodrigo to recover 
another town from the pagans. 

Delighted with this new accession of territory, Ferrando 
knighted Rodrigo, who meantime had added to his title of 
the Cid that of Campeador, "the champion," and here- 
after was often mentioned as "the one bom in a fortunate 
hour." In addition, the king bestowed upon Rodrigo the 
governorship of the cities of Coimbra and Zamorra, which 
were to be reoccupied by Christians. 

Shortly after this, the Pope demanded that Ferrando 
do homage to the empire, but the king rejoined that Spain 
was independent and therefore refused to obey. Hearing 
that large forces were marching against him to compel him 
to submit, Ferrando placed the Cid at the head of an army, 
and our hero not only defeated the enemy at Tobosa, but 
won so brilliant a victory that the Pope never ventured to 
renew his demands. 

Feeling death draw near, Ferrando divided his realm 
between his sons, who became kings of Castile, Leon, and 
Gallicia, and bestowed upon his daughters the cities of 
Zamorra and Toro. Although disappointed not to inherit 
the whole realm, the eldest prince, Don Sancho, dared not 

THE CID 111 

oppose his father's will, until one of his brothers proceeded 
to dispossess one of their sisters. Under the plea that the 
promise made to their father had already been broken, Don 
Sancho now set out to conquer the whole realm, but proved 
so unfortunate in his first battle as to fall into Ids brother's 
hands. There he would have remained for the rest of 
his life, had not the Cid delivered him, taken his captor, 
and confiscated his realm in Saneho's behalf. Hearing 
this, the third king, Alfonso, clamored for his share of his 
brother's spoil, and, as none was allotted him, declared war 
in his turn. In this campaign Sancho proved victorious 
only when the Cid fought in his behalf, and the struggle 
resulted in the imprisonment of Alfonso, who would have 
been slain had not his sister asked that he be allowed to 
enter a monastery. From there Alfonso soon effected his 
escape, and hastened to seek refuge among the Moors at 

Don Sancho, having meantime assumed all three croTvns, 
became anxious to dispossess his sister of Zamorra. But 
the Cid refused to take part in so unchivalrous a deed, 
and thereby so angered the king that he vowed he would 
exile him. When the Cid promptly rejoined that in that 
case he would hasten to Toledo and offer his services to 
Alfonso to help him recover all he had lost, Sancho re- 
pented and apologized. He did not, however, relinquish 
his project of despoiling his sister of Zamorra, but merely 
dispensed the Cid from accompanying him. 

Because Zamorra was well defended by Vellido Dolfos, 
— ^the princess' captain, — King Sancho was not able to take 
it. He so sorely beset the inhabitants, however, that Vellido 
Dolfos resolved to get the better of him by strategy. Feign- 
ing to be driven out of the city, he secretly joined Don 
Sancho, and offered to deliver the city into his hands if the 
king would only accompany him to a side gate. Notwith- 
standing adverse omens, the credulous Sancho, believing 
him, rode off, only to meet his death at the postern gate, in- 
side of which his murderer immediately took refuge. 

On learning that his master has been slain, the Cid 


hastened to avenge him, and, as Sancho had left no heir, 
proclaimed Alfonso his successor. We are told that this 
young prince had already heard of his brother's death 
through a message from his sister, and, fearing the Moors 
would not. allow him to depart for good, had merely asked 
permission to visit his kin. The wary Moorish king con- 
sented, but only on condition Alfonso would promise never 
to attack him or his sons, should he become king. 

When Alfonso arrived at Zamorra, all the Spaniards 
readily did homage to him save the Cid, who refused to 
have anything to do with him until he had solemnly sworn 
he had no share in his brother's death. To satisfy the 
Cid, therefore, Alfonso and twelve of his men took a three- 
fold oath in the churcL of Burgos ; but it is said Alfonso 
never forgave the humiliation which the Cid thus inflicted 
upon him. 

The new monarch proved to be a wise ruler for the 
kingdoms of Leon, Castile, GaUicia, and Portugal. He was 
not without his troubles, however, for shortly after his 
succession the Cid quarrelled with one of his nobles. Next 
the Moorish kings became disunited and Alfonso's former 
host summoned him to his aid. Not only did Alfonso assist 
this king of Toledo, but invited him into his camp, where 
he forced him to release him from the promise made on 
leaving his city. Not daring to refuse while in the power 
of the Christians, the Moorish king reluctantly consented, 
and was surprised and delighted to hear Alfonso immedi- 
ately renew the oath, for, while not willing to be friends 
with the Moors under compulsion, he had no objection to 
enter into an alliance with them of his own free wiU. 

Not long after this the king of Navarre sent forth his 
champion to challenge one of Alfonso's, the stake this time 
being three castles which the Cid won. But the Moors, tak- 
ing advantage of the Cid's illness which followed this 
battle, rose up against Alfonso, who was compelled to 
wage war against them. In this campaign he would have 
fallen into the enemy's hands had not the Cid risen from 
hia sick-bed to extricate him from peril! 

THE CID 113 

By this time the renown of the Cid was so great, that 
people in speaking of him invariably termed him "the 
Perfect One," thereby arousing such jealousy among the 
courtiers, that they persuaded Alfonso his subject was try- 
ing to outshine him ! In anger the king decreed Rodrigo 's 
immediate banishment, and, instead of allowing him the 
customary thirty days to prepare for departure, threatened 
to put him to death were he found within the land nine 
days later! As soon as the Cid informed his friends he 
was banished, one and all promised to follow wherever he 
went, as did his devoted cousin Alvar Fanez. 

It is at this point that the present poem of the Cid 
begins, for the ballads covering the foregoing part of the 
Cid's life exist only in a fragmentary state. We are told 
that the decree of banishment proved a signal for the 
courtiers to plunder the hero's house, and that the Cid 
gazing sadly upon its miins exclaimed, "My enemies have 
done this !" Then, seeing a poor woman stand by, he bade 
her secure her share, adding that for his part he would 
henceforth live by pillaging the Moors, but that the day 
would come when he would return home laden with honors. 

On his way to Burgos the Cid was somewhat cheered 
by good omens, and was joined by so many knights in 
quest of adventure that no less than sixty banners fluttered 
behind him. A royal messenger had, however, preceded 
him to this city, to forbid the people to show him hospitality 
and to close his own house against him. The only person 
who dared inform the Cid of this fact was a little maid, 
who tremblingly reported that he was to be debarred from 
all assistance. 

" thou that in a happy hour didst gird thee with the sword. 
It is the order of the king; we dare not, O my lord! 
Sealed with his royal seal hath come his letter to forbid 
The Burgos folk to open door, or shelter thee, my Cid. 
Our goods, our homes, our very eyes, in this are all at stake; 
And small the gain to thee, though we meet ruin for thy sake. 
Go, and God prosper thee in all that thou dost undertake." * 

•All the quotations in this chapter are taken from translation 
of " The Cid " by Onnsby. 



Pausing at the church only long enough to say a prayer, 
the Cid rode out of the gates of Burgos and camped on a 
neighboring hill, where his nephew Martin Antolinez 
brought him bread and wine, declaring he would hence- 
forth share the Cid's fortunes in defiance of the king. It 
was to this relative that the Cid confided the fact that he 
was without funds and must raise enough money to defray 
present expenses. Putting their heads together, these two 
then decided to fill two huge chests with sand, and offer 
them to a couple of Jews in Burgos for six hundred marks, 
stating the chests contained treasures too heavy and valu- 
able to be taken into exile, and assuring them that, if they 
solemnly pledged themselves not to open the chests for a 
year, they could then claim them, provided the Cid had 
not redeemed them in the meanwhile. Trusting to the Cid's 
word and hoping to enrich themselves by this transaction, 
the Jews gladly lent the six hundred marks and bore away 
the heavy chests. 

Having thus secured the required supplies, the Cid 
proceeded to San Pedro de Cardena, where he entrusted 
his wife Ximena and two daughters to the care of the 
prior, leaving behind him funds enough to defray all their 
expenses. Then, although parting with his family was as 
hard as "when a finger-nail is torn from the flesh," the 
Cid rode away, crossing the frontier just as the nine days 
ended. He was there greatly cheered by a vision of the 
angel Gabriel, who assured him all would be well with him. 

The prayer was said, the mass was sung, they mounted to depart; 
My Cid a moment stayed to press Ximena to his heart: 
Ximena kissed his hand, as one distraught with grief was she: 
He looked upon his daughters: "These to God I leave," said he; 
"Unto our lady and to God, Father of all below; 
He knows if we shall meet again: — and now, sirs, let us go." 

As when the finger-nail from out the flesh is torn away, 
Even so sharp to him and them the parting pang that day. 
Then to his saddle sprang my Cid, and forth his vassals led; 
But ever as he rode, to those behind he turned his head. 

Entering the land of the Moors with a force of three 
hundred men, the Cid immediately proceeded to take a 

THE CID 115 

castle and to besiege the city of Alcocer. But this town 
resisted so bravely, that after fifteen weeks the Cid decided 
to eflfect by strategy the entrance denied by force. Feign- 
ing discouragement, he, therefore, left his camp, whereupon 
the inhabitants immediately poured out of the city to visit 
it, leaving the gates wide open behind them. The Cid, who 
was merely hiding near by, now cleverly cut off their retreat 
and thus entered Alcocer through wide-open gates. 

No sooner did the Moors learn that the Cid had con- 
quered this important place, than they hastened to besiege 
it, cutting off the water supply, to compel the Christifins 
to come out. To prevent his men from perishing of thirst, 
the Cid made so vigorous a sortie that he not only drove 
the enemy away, but captured their baggage, thus winning 
so much booty that he was able to send thirty caparisoned 
steeds to Alfonso, as well as rich gifts in money to his wife. 
In return, the bearer of these welcome tokens was informed 
by King Alfonso that Eodrigo would shortly be pardoned 
and recalled. 

Meanwhile the Cid, leaving Alcocer, had taken up his 
abode on the hill near Medina, which still bears his name. 
Thence he proceeded to the forest of Tebar, where he again 
fought so successfully against the Moors that he compelled 
the city of Saragossa to pay tribute to him. Rumors of 
these triumphs enticed hundreds of Castilian knights to 
join him, and with their aid he outwitted all the attempts 
the Moors made to regain their lost possessions. "We are 
also told that in one of these battles the Cid took prisoner 
Don Eamon, who refused to eat until free. Seeing this, 
the Cid took his sword, Colada, and promised to set him 
and his kinsmen free if they would only eat enough to 
have strength to depart. Although doubtful whether this 
promise would be kept, Don Ramon and his follows par- 
took of food and rode away, constantly turning their heads 
to make sure that they were not pursued. 

He spurred his steed, but, as he rode, a backward glance he bent, 
Still fearing to the last my Cid his promise would repent: 
A thing, the world itself to win, my Cid would not have done: 
No perfidy was ever found in him, the Perfect One. 


As some of his subjects were sorely persecuted by the 
Moors, Alfonso now sent word to the Cid to punish them, 
a task the hero promised to perform, provided the king 
would pledge himself never again to banish a man with- 
out giving him thirty days' notice, and to make sundry 
other wise reforms in his laws. Having thus secured in- 
estimable boons for his fellow-countrymen, the Cid pro- 
ceeded to besiege sundry Moorish castles, all of which he 
took, winning thereby much booty. Having thus served 
his monarch, the Cid was recalled in triumph to Castile, 
where he was told to keep all he had won from the Moors. 
In return the Cid helped Alfonso to secure Toledo, seeing 
the king with whom this king had sworn alliance was now 
dead. It was while the siege of this city was taking place 
that Bishop Jerome was favored by a vision of St. Isidro, 
who predicted they would take the city, a promise verified 
in 1085, when the Cid's was the first Christian banner to 
float above its walls. Our hero now became governor of 
this town, but, although he continued to wage war against 
the Moors, his successes had made the courtiers so jealous 
that they induced the king to imprison Ximena and her 

Perceiving he was no longer in favor at court, the Cid 
haughtily withdrew, and, when Alfonso came down into 
Valencia, demanding that the cities which had hitherto paid 
tribute to his subject should now do so to him, the Cid 
retaliated by invading Alfcmso's reabn. None of the 
courtiers daring to oppose him, Alfonso had cause bitterly 
to repent of what he had done, and humbly assured his 
powerful subject he would never molest him again. Ever 
ready to forgive an ungrateful master, the Cid withdrew, 
and for a time king and subject lived in peace. 

Although the Cid had permitted the Moors to remain in 
the cities he had conquered, they proved rather restive 
under the Christian yoke, and guided by Abeniaf finally 
told the Moors in Northern Africa that if they would only 
cross the sea they would deliver Valencia into their hands. 
But this conspiracy soon became known to the Moors who 

THE CID 117 

favored the Cid, and they immediately notified him, hold- 
ing their town which was ia dire peril for twelve days. 

To keep his promise, Abeniaf finally hauled some of 
the Moors up over the walls by means of ropes, and the 
presence of these foes in their midst compelled the Moors 
who favored the Cid to leave the city ia disguise, thus 
allowing Abeniaf and his allies to plunder right and left 
and even to murder the Moorish king. This done, Abeniaf 
himself assumed the regal authority, and began to govern 
the city in such an arbitrary way that he soon managed to 
offend even his own friends. 

Meantime the Moors who had fled rejoined the Cid, and, 
when they reported what had occurred, Rodrigo wrote to 
Abeniaf, reproaching him for his treachery and demanding 
the surrender of the property he had left in town. Because 
Abeniaf replied that his allies had taken possession of it, 
the Cid termed him a traitor and swore he would secure 
revenge. Thereupon our hero set out with an army, and, 
finding himself unable to take the city by assault, began 
to besiege it; pulling down the houses in the suburbs to 
secure necessary materials to construct his camp. Then 
he began a systematic attack on the city, mastering one of 
its defences after another, and carrying on the siege with 
such vigor that he thereby won additional glory. All the 
M.oorish captives taken were sent out through his lines into 
the open country, where they were invited to pursue their 
agricultural avocations, and assured protection, provided 
they would pay tribute of one-tenth of the produce of 
their lands. 

Meantime the people in the besieged city suffered so 
sorely from hunger, that they finally sent word they would 
treat with the Cid if he would allow Abeniaf and his fol- 
lowers to leave the country unharmed. The Cid having 
consented to this proposal, the invading Moors withdrew 
to Morocco, whence, however, they soon returned in in- 
creased numbers to recapture Valencia and take their re- 
venge upon Abeniaf, who had proved treacherous to them 
too. To check the advance of this foe, the Cid flooded 


the country by opening the sluices in the irrigation canals, 
and the invaders, fancying themselves in danger of drown- 
ing, beat a hasty retreat. Because Abeniaf took advantage 
of these circumstances to turn traitor again, the Cid be- 
sieged him in Valencia for nine months, during which the 
famine became so intense that the inhabitants resorted to 
all manner of expedients to satisfy their hunger. 

Throughout this campaign the Cid ate his meals in pub- 
lic, sitting by himself at a highr table and assigning the 
one next him to the warriors whcJ won the most distinction 
in battle. This table was headed by Alvar Fanez, sur- 
rounded by the most famous knights. A notorious coward, 
pretending to have done great deeds, advanced one day to 
claim a seat among the heroes. Perceiving his intention, 
the Cid called him to come and sit with him, whereupon 
the knight became so elated that when he again found 
himself on the field of battle he actually did wonders ! Seeing 
his efforts, the Cid generously encouraged him and, after 
he had shown himself brave indeed, publicly bade him sit 
with the distinguished knights. 

The city of Valencia having finally opened its gates, 
the Cid marched in with a train of provision-wagons, for 
he longed to relieve the starving. Then, sending for the 
principal magistrates, he expressed commiseration for their 
sufferings, adding that he would treat the people fairly, 
provided they proved loyal in their turn. But, instead of 
occupying the city itself, he and the Christians returned 
to the suburbs, enjoining upon the Moorish governor to 
maintain order among his people, and slay none but 
Abeniaf, who had proved traitor to all. 

Soon after, seeing that the Moors and Christians would 
never be able to live in peace within the same enclosure, the 
Cid appointed another place of abode for the Moors. Then 
he and his followers marched into Valencia, which they 
proceeded to hold, in spite of sundry attempts on the part 
of the Moors to recover possession of so important a strong- 

When the Moorish king of Seville ventured to attack 

THE CID 119 

the Cid, he and his thirty thousand men experienced defeat 
and many of his force were drowned in the river while try- 
ing to escape. Such was the amount of spoil obtained in 
this and other battles, that the Cid was able to make his 
soldiers rich beyond their dreams, although by this time he 
had a very large force, for new recruits constantly joined 
him during his wars with the Moors. 

As the Cid had vowed" on leaving home never to cut his 
beard until recalled, he was now a most venerable-looking 
man, with a beard of such length that it had to be bound out 
of his way by silken cords whenever he wanted to fight. 
Among those who now fought in the Cid's ranks was 
Hieronymo (Jerome), who became bishop of Valencia, and 
who, in his anxiety to restore the whole land to Christian 
rule, fought by the Cid's side, and invariably advised him 
to transform all captured mosques into Christian churches. 

But lo! all armed from head to heel the Bishop Jerome shows; 
He ever brings good fortune to my Cid where'er he goes. 
"Mass have I said, and now I come to join you in the fray; 
To strike a blow against the Moor in battle if I may, 
And in the field win honor for my order and my hand. 
It is for this that I am here, far from my native land. 
Unto Valencia did I come to cast my lot with you, 
All for the longing that I had to slay a Moor or two. 
And so, in warlike guise I come, with blazoned shield, and lance. 
That I may flesh my blade to-day, if God but give the chance. 
Then send me to the front to do the bidding of my heart: 
Grant me this favor that I ask, or else, my Cid, we part! " 

Now that he had a fixed abiding place, the Cid bade 
Alvar Panez and Martin Antolinoz carry a rich present to 
Don Alfonso, and obtain his permission to bring his wife 
and daughters to Valencia. The same messengers were also 
laden with a reward for the Abbot of St. Pedro, under 
whose protection the Cid's family had taken refuge, and 
with funds to redeem the chests of sand from the Jews at 
Burgos, begging their pardon for the deception practised 
upon them and allowing them higher interest than they 
could ever have claimed. Not only did the messengers gal- 
lantly acquit themselves of this embassy, but boasted every- 


where of the five pitched battles the Cid had won and of 
the eight towns now under his sway. 

On learning that the Cid had conquered Valencia, 
Alfonso expressed keen delight, although his jealous cour- 
tiers did not hesitate to murmur they could have done as 
well! The monarch also granted permission to Donna 
Ximena and her daughters to join the Cid, and the three 
ladies set out with their escorts for Valencia. Nine miles 
outside this city, the Cid met them, mounted on his steed 
Bavieca, which he had won from the Moors, and, joyfully 
embracing wife and daughters, welcomed them to Valencia, 
where from the top of the Alcazar he bade them view the 
fertile country which paid tribute to him. 

But, three months after the ladies' arrival, fifty thou- 
sand Moors crossed over from Africa to recover their lost 
territoiy. Hearing this, the Cid immediately laid in a stock 
of provisions, renewed his supplies of ammunition, and in- 
spected the walls and engines of his towns to make sure 
they could resist. These preparations concluded, he told 
his wife and daughters they should now see with their own 
eyes how well he could fight ! Soon after the Moors began 
besieging the city (1102), the Cid arranged that some of 
his troops should slip out and attack them from behind 
while he faced them. By this stratagem the Moors were 
caught between opposing forces, and overestimating their 
numbers fled in terror, allowing the Cid to triumph once 
more, although he had only four thousand men to oppose 
to their fifty thousand ! Thanks to this panic of the Moors, 
the Cid collected such huge quantities of booty, that he was 
able to send a hundred fully equipped horses to King 
Alfonso, as well as the tent which he had captured from 
the Moorish monarch. These gifts not only pleased Alfonso, 
but awed and silenced the courtiers, among whom were 
the Infantes of Carrion, who deemed it might be well to 
sue for the Cid's daughters, since the father was able to 
bestow such rich gifts. Having reached this decision, these 
scheming youths approached the king, who, counting upon 

THE CID 121 

his vassals' implicit obedience to his commands, promised 
they should marry as they wished. 

When the bearers of the Cid's present, therefore, re- 
turned to Valencia, they bore a letter wherein Alfonso bade 
the Cid give his daughters in marriage to the Infantes of 
Carrion. Although this marriage suited neither the old 
hero nor his wife, both were far too loyal to oppose the 
king's wishes, and humbly sent word they would obey. 

Then the Cid graciously went to meet his future sons- 
in-law. They were escorted to the banks of the Tagus by 
Alfonso himself, who there expressed surprise at the length 
of the Cid's beard, and seemed awed by the pomp with 
which he was surrounded, for at the banquet all the chief 
men ate out of dishes of gold and no one was asked to use 
anything less precious than silver. Not only did the Cid 
assure his future sons-in-law that his daughters should have 
rich dowries, but, the banquet ended, escorted them back to 
Valencia, where he entertained them royally. 

The wedding festivities lasted fifteen days, but even 
after they were over the Infantes of Carrion tarried in 
Valencia, thus giving the Cid more than one opportunity to 
regret having bestowed his daughters' hands upon youths 
who possessed neither coursige nor nobility of character. 
While the young men were still lingering ia Valencia, it 
happened one afternoon — ^while the Cid lay sleeping in the 
haU — ^that a huge lion, kept in the court-yard for his amuse- 
ment, escaped from its keepers. While those present imme- 
diately rushed forward to protect the sleeper, the Cid's 
sons-in-law, terrified at the sight of the monster, crept one 
beneath the hero's couch and the other over a wine-press, 
thus soiling his garments so he was not fit to be seen. At 
the lion's roar the Cid awoke. Seeing at a glance what had 
occurred, he sprang forward, then, laying a powerful hand 
on the animal's mane, compelled him to follow him out of 
the hall, and thrust him ignominiously back into his cage. 

Because the Infantes had so plainly revealed their 
cowardice, people made fun of them, until they roused 
their resentment to such an extent that, when the Moors 


again threatened Valencia, they offered to go forth and 
defend the Cid. This show of courage simply delighted the 
old hero, who sallied forth accompanied by both sons-in- 
law and hj the bishop, who was a mighty fighter. Although 
most of the warriors present did wonders on this occasion, 
the Infantes of Carrion were careful not to run any risk, 
although one of them purchased a horse which a soldier 
had won from the Moors, and shamelessly passed it off as 
his own trophy. Pleased to think this son-in-law had so 
distinguished himself, the Cid complimented him after the 
battle, where he himself had slain so many Moors and won 
so much booty that he was able to send another princely 
present to Alfonso. Perceiving they were still objects of 
mockery among the followers of the Cid, the Infantes now 
begged permission to take their wives home, although their 
real intention was to make these helpless girls pay for the 
insults they had received. Although the Cid little suspected 
this fact, he regretfully allowed his daughters to depart, 
and tried to please his sons-in-law by bestowing upon them 
the choice swords, Tizona and Colada, won in the course of 
his battles against the Moors. 

Two days' journey from Valencia the infantes prepared 
to carry out the revenge they had planned, but while con- 
ferring in regard to its details were overheard by a Moor, 
who, vowing he would have nothing to do with such cowards, 
left them unceremoniously. Sending on their main troops 
with a cousin of the girls, Felez Munoz, who served as their 
escort, tl;e Infantes led their wives into a neighboring 
forest, where, after stripping them, they beat them cruelly, 
kicked them with their spurs, and abandoned them griev- 
ously wounded and trembling for their lives. When the 
Infantes rejoined their suite minus their wives, Felez 
Munoz, suspecting something was wrong, rode back hastily, 
and found his cousins in such a pitiful plight that they 
were too weak to speak. Casting his own cloak about the 
nearly naked women, he tenderly bore them into a thicket, 
where they could lie in safety while he watched over them 
all night, for he did not dare leave them to go in quest of 

THE cm 123 

aid. At dawn he hurried off to a neighboring villsige and 
secured help. There, in the house of a kind man, the poor 
ladies were cared for, while their cousin hastened on to 
apprise the Cid of what had occurred. 

Meantime the Infantes had met Alvar Fanez conveying 
to the king another present, and, on being asked where were 
their wives, carelessly rejoined they had left them behind. 
Ill pleased with such a report, Alvar Fanez and his troops 
hurried back in quest of the ladies, but found nothing 
save traces of blood, which made them suspect foul play. 
On discoveruig what had really happened to the Cid's 
daughters, Alvar Fanez hurried on to deliver the present to 
the king, and indignantly reported what treatment the Cid 's 
daughters had undergone at the hands of the bridegrooms 
the king had chosen for them, informing him that since he 
had made the marriage it behooved him to see justice done. 
Horrified on hearing what had occurred, Alfonso sum- 
moned the Cortes, sending word to the Cid and to the In 
fantes to appear before it at Toledo three months hence. 

Meantime the Cid, learning what had befallen his poor 
girls, hastened to them, took them home, and, hearing that 
the king himself would judge his case, decided to abide by 
the decision of the Cortes. At the end of the third month, 
therefore, the Cid's followers — who had preceded him — 
erected in the royal hall at Toledo the ivory seat he had 
won at Valencia, and Alfonso himself openly declared the 
Cid quite worthy to occupy a throne by his side, seeing no 
one had ever served him as well as the man whom the 
courtiers were always trying to belittle. The day for the 
solemn session having dawned, the Cid entered the hall, 
followed by a hundred knights, while the Infantes of 
Carrion appeared there with equal numbers, being afraid 
of an attack. "When summoned to state his wrongs, the 
Cid quietly rose from his ivory throne, declaring that, 
having bestowed upon the Infantes two swords of great 
price, he demanded their return, since, as they refused to 
have anything more to do with his daughters, he could no 
longer consider them his sons. All present were amazed 


at the mildness of the Cid's speech and at his demanding 
merely the return of his swords, and the Infantes, glad to 
be let off so easily, promptly resigned both weapons into 
the Cid's hand. With his precious swords lying across his 
lap, the Cid now declared that having also given the In- 
fantes large sums of money he wished those returned also, 
and, although the young men objected, the court sentenced 
them to pay the sum the Cid claimed. Both of these de- 
mands having been granted, the Cid next required satis- 
faction for the treatment the Infantes had inflicted upon 
his daughters, eloquently describing to the Cortes the 
cruelty and treachery used. 

"So please your Grace! once more upon your clemency I call; 
A grievance yet remains untold, the greatest grief of all. 
And let the court give ear, and weigh the wrong that hath been 

I hold myself dishonored by the lords of Carrion. 
Redress my combat they must yield; none other will I take. 
How now, Infantes! what excuse, what answer do ye make? 
Why have ye laid my heartstrings bare? In jest or earnest say. 
Have I offended you? and I will make amends to-day. 

" My daughters in your hands I placed the day that forth ye went, 
And rich in wealth and honors from Valencia were ye sent. 
Why did ye carry with you brides ye loved not, treacherous curs? 
Why tear their Hesh in Corpes wood with saddle-girths and spurs. 
And leave them to the beasts of prey ? Villains throughout were ye ! 
What answer ye can make to this 'tis for the court to see." 

When the Cid added that Alfonso was responsible for 
these unfortunate marriages, the monarch admitted the 
fact, and asked what the Infantes of Carrion could say in 
their own defence. Insolently they declared the Cid's 
daughters not worthy to mate with them, stating they had, 
on the whole, treated them better than they deserved by 
honoring them for a time with their attentions. 

Had not the Cid forbidden his followers to speak untU 
he granted permission, these words would have been 
avenged almost as soon as uttered. But, forgetting his 
previous orders, the aged Cid now demanded of Pero Mudo 
(Dumby) why he did not speak, whereupon this hero 
boldly struck one of the Infantes' party and challenged 
them all to fight. 

THE cm 125 

Thus compelled to settle the difficulty by a judicial duel, 
the king bade the Infantes and their uncle be ready to 
meet the Cid's champions in the lists on the morrow. The 
poem describes the encounter thus : 

The marshals leave them face to face and from the lists are gone; 
Here stand the champions of my Cid, there those of Carrion; 
Each with his gaze intent and fixed upon his chosen foe, 
Their bucklers braced before their breasts, their lances pointing low. 
Their heads bent down, as each man leans above his saddle-bow. 
Then with one impulse every spur is in the charger's side, 
And earth itself is felt to shake beneath their furious stride; 
Till, midway meeting, three with three, in struggle fierce they lock. 
While all account tbem dead who hear the echo of the shock. 

The cowardly Infantes, having been defeated, publicly 
confessed themselves in the wrong, and were ever after 
abhorred, while the Cid returned to Valencia with the 
spoils wrung from his adversaries, and proudly presented 
to his wife and daughters the three champions who had 
upheld their cause. 

He who a noble lady wrongs and casts aside — ^may he 

Meet like requital for his deeds, or worse, if worse there be. 

But let us leave them where they lie — ^their meed is all men's scorn. 

Turn we to speak of him that in a happy hour was born. 

Valencia the Great was glad, rejoiced at heart to see 

The honoured champions of her lord return in victory. 

Shortly after this the Cid's pride was further salved by 
proposals of marriage from the princes of Aragon and 
Navarre, and thus his descendants in due time sat upon 
the thrones of these realms. 

And he that in a good hour was born, behold how he hath sped! 
His daughters now to higher rank and greater honor wed: 
Sought by Navarre and Aragon for queens his daughters twain; 
And monarchs of his blood to-day upon the thrones of Spain. 

Five years now elapsed during which the Cid lived 
happy, honored by all and visited by embassies even from 
distant Persia. But the Cid was now old and felt his end 
near, for St. Peter visited him one night and warned bim 
that, although he would die in thirty days, he would 
triumph over the Moors even after life had departed. 

This assurance was most comforting, for hosts of Moors 
had suddenly crossed the seas and were about to besiege 


Valencia. Trusting in St. Peter's warning, the Cid made 
all Ms preparations for death, and, knowing his followers 
would never be able to hold the city after he was gone, 
bade them keep his demise secret, embabn his body, bind 
it firmly on his steed Bavieca, and boldly cut their way 
out of the city with him in their van. 

Just as had been predicted, the Cid died on the thirtieth 
day after his vision, and, his corpse having been embalmed 
as he directed, his followers prepared to leave Valencia. 
To the amazement of the Moors, the gates of the city they 
were besieging were suddenly flung open wide, and out 
sallied the Christians with the Cid in their midst. The 
mere sight of this heroic leader caused such a panic, that 
the little troop of six hundred Christian knights safely, 
conveyed their dead chief and his family through the 
enemy's serried ranks to Castile. Other detachments led 
by the bishop and Gil Diaz then drove these Moors back 
to Africa after securing immense spoil. 

Seeing Valencia abandoned, the Moors whom the Cid 
had established without the city returned to take possession 
of their former houses, on one of which they discovered 
an inscription stating that the Cid Campeador was dead 
and would no longer dispute possession of the city. 

Meantime the funeral procession had gone on to the 
Monastery of St. Pedro de Cardena, where the Cid was 
buried, as he requested, and where his marvellously pre- 
served body sat in his ivory throne ten years, before it 
was placed in its present tomb. 

For two years and a half the steed Bavieca was rever- 
ently tended by the Cid's followers, none of whom, however, 
ever presumed to bestride him. As for Ximena, having 
mounted guard over 'her husband's remains four years, 
she finally died, leaving grandchildren to rule over Navarre 
and Aragon. 

And so his honor in the land grows greater day by day. 
Upon the feast of Pentecost from life he passed away. 
Tor him and all of us the Grace of Christ let us implore. 
And here ye have the story of my Cid Campeador. 


PoBTUQxra)SE literature, owing to its late birth, shows 
little originality. Besides, its earliest poems are of a purely 
lyrical and not of an epical type. Then, too, its reigning 
family being of Burgundian extraction, it borrowed its 
main ideas and literary material from France. In that 
way Charlemagne, the Arthurian romances, and the story 
of the Holy Grail became popular in Portugal, where it 
is even claimed that Amadis de Gaule originated, although 
it received its finished form ia Spain. 

The national epic of Portugal is the work of Luis de 
Camoens, who, inspired by patriotic fervor, sang in Os 
Lusiades of the discovery of the eagerly sought maritime 
road to India. Of course, Vasco da Gama is the hero of 
this epic, which is described in extenso further on. 

In imitation of Camoens, sundry other Portuguese poets 
attempted epics on historical themes, but none of their 
works possess sufficient merits to keep their memory green. 

During the sixteenth century, many versions of the 
prose epics or romances of chivalry were rife, Amadis de 
Gaule and its sequel, Palmerina d 'Inglaterra, being the 
most popular of all. 

Later on Meneses composed, according to strict classic 
rules, a tedious epic entitled Henriqueida, in praise of the 
monarch Henry, and de Macedo left Oriente, an epical 
composition which enjoyed a passing popularity. 


Introduction. The author of the Portuguese epic, Luis 
de Camoens, was bom at Lisbon in 1524. Although his 
father, commander of a warship, was lost at sea during his 
infancy, his mother contrived to give him a good education, 
and even sent him to the University at Coimbra, where he 
began to write poetry. 



After graduating C'amoens served at court, and there 
incurred royal displeasure by falling in love with a lady his 
majesty chose to honor with his attentions. During a period 
of banishment at Santarem, Camoens began the Lusiad, Os 
Lusiades, an epic poem celebrating Vaseo da Gama's jour- 
ney to India in 1497^ and rehearsing with patriotic en- 
thusiasm the glories of Portuguese history. Owing to its 
theme, this epic, which a great authority claims should be 
termed "the Portugade," is also known as the Epic of 
Commerce or the Epic of Patriotism. 

After his banishment Camoens obtained permission to 
join the forces directed against the Moors, and shortly 
after lost an eye in an engagement in the Strait of Gibraltar. 
Although he distinguished himself as a warrior, Camoens 
did not even then neglect the muse, for he reports he 
wielded the pen with one hand and the sword with the 

After this campaign Camoens returned to court, but, 
incensed by the treatment he received at the hands of 
jealous courtiers, he soon vowed his ungrateful country 
should not even possess his bones, and sailed for India, in 
1553, in a fleet of four vessels, only one of which was to 
arrive at its destination, Goa. 

While in India Camoens sided with one of the native 
kitfgs, whose wrath he excited by imprudently revealing 
his political tendencies. He was, therefore, exiled to Macao, 
where for five years he seized as "administrator of the 
effects of deceased persons," and managed to amass a con- 
siderable fortune while continuing his epic. It was on his 
way back to Goa that Camoens suffered shipwreck, and lost 
all he possessed, except his poem, with which he swam 

Sixteen years after his departure from Lisbon, Camoens 
returned to his native city, bringing nothing save his com- 
pleted epic, which, owing to the pestilence then raging in 
Europe, could be published only in 1572. Even then the 

» See the author's " Story of the Thirteen Colonies." 


Lusiad attracted little attention, and won for him only a 
small royal pension, which, however, the next king 
rescinded. Thus, poor Camoens, being sixty-two years old, 
died in an almshouse, having been partly supported since 
his return by a Javanese servant, who begged for his master 
in the streets of Lisbon. 

Camoens' poem Os Lusiades, or the Lusitanians (i.e., 
Portuguese), comprises ten books, containing 1102 stanzas 
in heroic iambics, and is replete vdth mythological allusions. 
Its outline is as follows: 

Book I. After invoking the muses and making a cere- 
monious address to King Sebastian, the poet describes how 
Jupiter, having assembled the gods on Mount Olympus, 
directs their glances upon Vasco da Gama's ships plying 
the waves of an unknown sea, and announces to them that 
the Portuguese, who have already made such notable mari- 
time discoveries, are about to achieve the conquest of India. 

Bacchus, who has long been master of this land, there- 
upon wrathfuUy vows Portugal shall not rob him of his 
domain, while Venus and Mars implore Jupiter to favor 
the Lusitanians, whom they' consider descendants of the 
Romans. The king of the gods is so ready to grant this 
prayer, that he immediately despatches Mercury to guide 
the voyagers safely to Madagascar. Here the Portuguese, 
mistaken for Moors on account of their swarthy com- 
plexions, are at first made welcome. But when the islanders 
discover the strangers are Christians, they determine to 
annihilate them if possible. So, instigated by one of their 
priests, — ^Bacchus in disguise, — ^the islanders attack the 
Portuguese when they next land to get water. Seeing his 
men in danger. Da Gama discharges his artillery, and the 
terrified natives fall upon their knees and not only beg 
for mercy, but offer to provide him with a pilot capable 
of guiding him safely to India. 

This offer is accepted by Da Gama, who does not sus- 
pect this pilot has instructions to take him to Quiloa, where 
aU Christians are slain. To delude the unsuspecting Portu- 
guese navigator into that port, the pilot avers the Quiloans 



are Christians; but all his evil plans miscarry, thanks to 
the interference of Mars and Venus, who by contrary 
winds hinder the vessels from entering this port. 

Book II. The traitor pilot now steers toward Mombaga, 
where meanwhile Bacchus has been plotting to secure the 
death of the Portuguese. But here Venus and her nymphs 
block the entrance of the harbor with huge rocks, and the 
pilot, realizing the Christians are receiving supernatural 
aid, jumps overboard and is drowned ! 

Venus, having thus twice rescued her proteges from 
imminent death, now visits Olympus, and by the exercise 
of all her conquettish wiles obtains from Jupiter a promise 
to favor the Portuguese. In accordance with this pledge, 
Mercury himself is despatched to guide the fleet safely to 
Melinda, whose harbor the Portuguese finally enter, decked 
with flags and accompanied by triumphant music. 

Now Gama's bands the quiv'ring trumpet blow. 
Thick o'er the wave the crowding barges row, 
The Moorish flags the curling waters sweep. 
The Lusian mortars thunder o'er the deep; 
Again the fiery roar heaven's concave tears. 
The Moors astonished stop their wounded ears; 
Again loud thunders rattle o'er the bay, 
And clouds of smoke wide-rolling blot the day; 
The captain's barge the gen'rous king ascends, 
His arms the chief enfold, the captain bends 
(A rev'rence to the scepter'd grandeur due) : 
In silent awe the monarcli's wond'ring view 
Is fix'd on Vasco's noble mien; the while 
His thoughts with wonder weigh the hero's toil. 
Esteem and friendship with his wonder rise. 
And free to Gama all his kingdom lies." 

Book III. As Vasco da Gama has solemnly vowed not 
to leave his ship until he can set foot upon Indian soil, he 
refuses to land at Melinda although cordially invited to do 
so by the native king. Seeing the foreign commander will 
not come ashore, the king visits the Portuguese vessel, where 
he is sumptuously entertained and hears from Da Gama's 
own lips an enthusiastic outline of the history of Portugal. 

'All the quotations in this chapter are from Mickle's trans- 
lation of the " Lusiad." 


After touching upon events which occurred there in 
mythological ages, Vaseo relates how Portugal, under 
Viriagus, resisted the Roman conquerors, and what a long 
conflict his country later sustained against the Moors. He 
also explains by what means Portugal became an independ- 
ent kingdom, and enthusiastically describes the patriotism 
of his countryman Egas Moniz, who, when his king was 
captured at the battle of Guimaraens, advised this prince 
to purchase his liberty by pledging himself to do homage 
to Castile. But, his master once free, Egas Moniz bade 
him retract this promise, saying that, since he and his 
family were pledged for its execution, they would rather 
lose their lives than see Portugal subjected to Castile. 

"And now, O king," the kneeling Egas cries, 

" Behold my perjured honor's sacrifice : 
If such mean victims can atone thine ire. 
Here let my wife, my babes, myself expire. 
If gen'rous bosoms such revenge can take, 
Here let them perish for the father's sake: 
The guilty tongue, the guilty hands are these. 
Nor let a common death thy wrath appease; 
For us let all the rage of torture burn, 
But to my prince, thy son, in friendship turn." 

Touched by the patriotism and devotion of Moniz, the 
foe not only spared his life, but showered favors upon him 
and even allowed him to go home. 

The king, thus saved from vassalage by the devotion of 
Moniz, is considered the first independent ruler of 
Portugal. Shortly after this occurrence, he defeated five 
Moorish rulers in the battle of Ourique, where the Portu- 
guese claim he was favored with the appearance of a cross 
in the sky. Because of this miracle, the Portuguese mon- 
arch incorporated a cross on his shield, surrounding it with 
five coins, said to represent the five kings he defeated. 
Later on, being made a prisoner at Badajoz, he abdicated 
in favor of his son. 

After proudly enumerating the heroic deeds of various 
Alphonsos and Sanchos of Portugal; Da Gama related the 
touching tale of Fair Inez de Castro (retold by Mrs. 


Hemans), to whom Don Pedro, although she was below 
him in station, was united by a secret marriage. For 
several years their happiness was unbroken and several 
children had been bom to them before the king, Don Pedro's 
father, discovered this alliance. Taking advantage of a 
temporary absence of his son, Alphonso the Brave sent for 
Inez and her children and sentenced them all to death, 
although his daughter-in-law fell at his feet and implored 
him to have mercy upon her little ones, even if he would 
not spare her. The king, however, would not relent, and 
signalled to the courtiers to stab Inez and her children. 

In tears she utter'd — as the frozen snow 

Touch'd by the spring's mild ray, begins to flow. 

So just began to melt his stubborn soul, 

As mild-ray'd Pity o'er the tyrant stole; 

But destiny forbaide: with eager zeal 

(Again pretended for the public weal). 

Her fierce accusers urg'd her speedy doom; 

Again dark rage diffus'd its horrid gloom 

O'er stem Alonzo's brow: swift at the sign, 

Their swords, unsheath'd, around her brandish'd shine. 

O foul disgrace, of knighthood lasting stain. 

By men of arms a helpless lady slain! 

On returning home and discovering what his father 
had done, Don Pedro was ready to rebel, but was restrained 
from doing so by the intervention of the queen. But, on 
ascending the throne when his father died, Don Pedro had 
the body of his murdered wife lifted out of the grave, 
decked in regal apparel, seated on the throne beside him, 
and he compelled all the courtiers to do homage to her and 
kiss her dead hand, vowing as much honor should be shown 
her as if she had lived to be queen. This ceremony ended, 
the lady's corpse was laid in a tomb, over which her mourn- 
ing husband erected a beautiful monument. Then, hearing 
his wife's slayers had taken refuge with Peter the Cruel, 
Don Pedro waged war fierce against this monarch until he 
surrendered the culprits, who, after being tortured, were 
put to death. 

Vasco da Gama also related how another king, Fernando, 
stole fair Eleanora from her husband, and vainly tried to 













force the Portuguese to accept their illegitimate daughter 
Beatrice as his successor. 

Book IV. Rather than accept as queen a lady who had 
married a Spanish prince, — ^who would probably unite their 
country with Spain,— the Portuguese fought the battle of 
Eljubarota in favor of Don John, and succeeded in dictat- 
ing terms of peace to the Spanish at Seville. Some time 
after this the king of Portugal and his brother were cap- 
tured by the Moors, and told they could recover their 
freedom only by surrendering Ceuta. Pretending acquies- 
cence, the king returned to Portugal, where, as he had 
settled with his brother, who remained as hostage with the 
Moors, he refused to surrender the city. 

After describing the victories of Alfonso V., Vasco da 
Gama related how John II., thirteenth king of Portugal, 
first began to seek a" maritime road to India, and how his 
successor, Emmanuel, was invited in a vision, by the gods 
of the Indus and Ganges, to come and conquer their 

Here as the monarch flx'd his wond'ring eyes. 

Two hoary fathers from the streams arise; 

Their aspect rustic, yet, a reverend grace 

Appear'd majestic on their wrinlcled face: 

Their tawny beards uncomb'd, and sweepy long, 

Adown their knees in shaggy ringlets hung; 

From every lock the crystal drops distil, 

And bathe their limbs, as In a trickling rill; 

tray wreaths of flowers, of fruitage and of boughs, 

(Nameless in Europe), crown'd their furrow'd brows. 

Booh V. Such was the enthusiasm caused by this vision 
that many mariners dedicated their lives to the discovery 
of this road to India. Among these Gama modestly claims 
his rank, declaring that, when he called for volunteers to 
accompany him, more men than he could take were ready 
to follow him. [History reports, however, that, such was the 
terror inspired by a voyage in unknown seas, Vasco da 
Gama had to empty the prisons to secure a crew!] Then 
the narrator added he had — as was customary — taken ten 
prisoners with him, whose death sentence was to be com- 


muted provided they faithfully carried out any difficult 
task he appointed. 

After describing his parting with his father, Vasco da 
Gama relates how they sailed past Mauritania and Madeira, 
crossed the line, and losing sight of the polar star took the 
southern cross as their guide. 

" O'er the wild waves, as southward thus we stray. 
Our port unknown, unknown the wat'ry way. 
Each night we see, impress'd with solemn awe, 
Our guiding stars and native skies withdraw. 
In the wide void we lose their cheering beams. 
Lower and lower still the pole-star gleams. 

Another pole-star rises o'er the wave: 
Full to the south a shining cross appears. 
Our heaving breasts the blissful omen cheers: 
Seven radiant stars compose the hallow'd sign 
That rose still higher o'er the wavy brine." 

A journey of five months, diversified by tempests, electrical 
phenomena, and occasional landings, brought them to Cape 
of Tempests, which since Diaz had rounded it was called 
the Cape of Good Hope. While battling with the tem- 
pestuous seas of this region, Vasco da Gama beheld, in the 
midst of sudden darkness, Adamastor, the Spirit of the 
Cape, who foretold all manner of dangers from which it 
would be difficult for them to escape. 

" We saw a hideous phantom glare; 
High and enormous o'er the ilood he tower'd, 
And 'thwart our way with sullen aspect lower'd: 
An earthy paleness o'er his cheeks was spread. 
Erect uprose his hairs of wither'd red; 
Writhing to speak, his sable lips disclose. 
Sharp and disjoin'd, his gnashing teeth's blue rows; 
His haggard beard flow'd qniv'ring on the wind. 
Revenge and horror in his mien combin'd; 
His clouded front, by with'ring lightnings scar'd. 
The inward anguish of his soul declared. 
His red eyes, glowing from their dusky caves. 
Shot livid fires: far echoing o'er the waves 
His voice resounded, as the cavern'd shore 
With hollow groan repeats the tempest's roar." 


The King of Melinda here interrupts Vasco da Gama's 
tale to explain he has often heard of that Adamastor, a 
Titan transformed into a rock but still possessing super- 
natural powers. 

Resuming his narrative, Da Gama next describes their 
landing to clean their foul ships, their sufferings from 
scurvy, their treacherous welcome at Mozambic, their nar- 
row escape at Quiloa and Mombaca, and ends his account 
with his joy at arriving at last at Melinda. 

Book VI. In return for the hospitality enjoyed on 
board of the Portuguese ships, the king of Melinda sup- 
plies Da Gama with an able pilot, who, steering straight 
for India, brings the Portuguese safely to their goal, in 
spite of the fact that Bacchus induces Neptune to stir up 
sundry tempests to check them. But, the prayers of the 
Christian crew and the aid of Venus counteract Bacchus' 
spells, so Da Gama's fleet enters Calicut, in 1497, and the 
Lusitanians thus achieve the glory of discovering a mari- 
time road to India ! 

Book VII. We now hear how a Moor, Mongaide, de- 
tained a prisoner in Calicut, serves as interpreter for Da 
Gama, explaining to him how this port is governed by 
the Zamorin, or monarch, and by his prime minister. The 
interpreter, at Da Gama's request, then procures an audi- 
ence from the Zamorin for his new master. 

Book VIII. The poet describes how on the way to the 
palace Da Gama passes a heathen temple, where he and his 
companions are shocked to behold countless idols, but where 
they can but admire the wonderful carvings adorning the 
waUs on three sides. In reply to their query why the ^f ourth 
wall is bare, they learn it has been predicted India shall 
be conquered by strangers, whose doings are to be depicted 
on the fourth side of their temple. 

After hearing Da Gama boast about his country, the 
Zamorin dismisses him, promising to consider a trade treaty 
with Portugal. But, during the next night, Bacchus, dis- 
guised as Mahomet, appears to the Moors in Calicut, and bids 
them inform the Zamorin that Da Gama is a pirate, whose 


rich goods he can secure if he will only follow their advice. 

This suggestion, duly carried out, results in Da Gama's 
detention as a prisoner when he lands with his goods on 
the next day. But, although the prime minister fancies 
the Portuguese fleet wiU soon be in his power, Da Gama 
has prudently given orders that, should any hostile demon- 
stration occur before his return, his men are to man the 
guns and threaten to bombard the town. When the Indian 
vessels therefore approach the Portuguese fleet, they are 
riddled with shot. 

Book IX. Because the Portuguese next threaten to 
attack the town, the Zamorin promptly sends Da Gama 
back with a cargo of spices and gems and promises of fair 
treatment hereafter. The Portuguese thereupon sail home, 
taking with them the faithful Mongaide, who is converted 
on the way and baptized as soon as they land at Lisbon. 

Book X. On the homeward journey Venus, wishing to 
reward the brave Lusitanians for all their pains and in- 
demnify them for their past hardships, leads them to her 
"Isle of Joy." Here she and her nymphs entertain them 
in the most acceptable mythological style, and a siren fore- 
tells in song aU that will befall their native country be- 
tween Vasco da Gama's journey and Camoens' time. Venus 
herself guides the navigator to the top of a hiU, whence she 
vouchsafes him a panoramic view of all the kingdoms of 
the earth and of the spheres which compose the universe. 

In this canto we also have a synopsis of the life of 
St. Thomas, the Apostle of India, and see the Portuguese 
sail happily off with the beauteous brides they have won 
in Venus' Isle of Joy. The return home is safely effected, 
and our bold sailors are welcomed in Lisbon with delirious 
joy, for their journey has crowned Portugal with glory. 
The poem concludes, as it began, with an apostrophe from 
the poet to the king. 

The Lusiad is so smoothly written, so harmonious, and 
so fuU of similes that ever since Camoens' day it has served 
as a model for Portuguese poetry and is even yet an 
accepted and highly prized classic in Portuguese Literature. 


The fact that Latin remained so long the chief literary- 
language of Europe prevented an early development of 
literature in the Italian language. Not only were all the 
popular European epics and romances current in Italy in 
Latin, but many of them were also known in Provengal 
in the northern part of the peninsula. It was, therefore, 
chiefly imitations of the Provengal bards' work which first 
appeared in Italian, in the thirteenth century, one of the 
best poets of that time being the SordeUo with whom 
Dante converses in Purgatory. 

Stories relating to the Charlemagne cycle found par- 
ticular favor in Northern Italy, and especially at Venice. 
In consequence there were many Italian versions of these 
old epics, as well as of the allegorical Roman de la Rose. 

It was at the court of Frederick II, in Sicily, that the 
first real school of Italian poetry developed, and from there 
the custom of composing exclusively in the vernacular 
spread over the remainder of the country. These early 
poets chose love as their main topic, and closely imitated 
the Provencal style. Then the "dolce stU nuovo," or sweet 
new style, was introduced by Guinicelli, who is rightly con- 
sidered the first true Italian poet of any note. The earliest 
Italian epic, the "Buovo d'Antona," and an adaptation of 
Reynard the Fox, were current in the first half of the thir- 
teenth century at Venice and elsewhere. In the second half 
appeared prose romances, such as tales about Arthur and 
his knights, the journey of Marco Polo, and new renderings 
of the old story of Troy. 

Professional story-tellers now began to wander from 
place to place in Northern and Central Italy, entertaining 
auditors of all classes and ages with stories derived from 
every attainable source. But the first great epic poet in 
Italy was Dante (1265-1321), whose Divina Commedia, 
begun in 1300, is treated separately in this volume. 



Although Petrarch was prouder of his Latin than of 
his Italian verses, he too greatly perfected Italian poetry, 
thus enabHag his personal friend Boccaccio to handle the 
language with lasting success in the tales which compose 
his Decameron. These are the Italian equivalents of the 
Canterbury Tales, and in several cases both writers have 
used the same themes. 

By the fifteenth century, and almost simultaneously 
with the introduction of printing, came the Renaissance, 
when a number of old epics were reworked. Roland — or, 
as he is known in Italy, Orlando — is the stock-hero of this 
new school of poets, several of whom undertook to relate 
his love adventures. Hence we have "Orlando Innamor- 
ato," by Boiardo and Bemi, as weU as "Morgante Mag- 
giore" by Pulei, where Roland also figures. In style 
and tone these works are charming, but the length of 
the poems and the involved adventures of their numerous 
characters prove very wearisome to modem readers. Next 
to Dante, as a poet, the Italians rank Ariosto, whose 
"Orlando Furioso," or Roland Insane, is a continuation of 
Boiardo 's "Orlando Innamorato." Drawing much of his 
material from the French romances of the Middle Ages, 
Ariosto breathes new life into the old subject and graces 
his tale with a most charming style. His subject was 
parodied by Folengo iu his "Orlandino" when Roland 
began to pall upon the Italian public. 

The next epic of note in Italian literature is Torquato 
Tasso's "Gerusalemme Liberata," composed in the second 
half of the sixteenth century, and still immensely popular 
owing to its exquisite style. Besides this poem, of which 
Godfrey of Bouillon is the hero and which is par excellence 
the epic of the crusades, Tasso composed epics on 
"Rinaldo," on "Gerusalemme Conquistata, " and "Sette 
Giomate del Mundo Creato." 

Some of Ariosto 's contemporaries also attempted the 
epic style, including Trissino, who in his "Italia Liberata" 
relates the victories of Belisarius over the Goths in blank 
verse. His fame, however, rests on "Sofonisba," the first 


Italian tragedy, in fact "the first regular tragedy in all 
modern literature." 

Although no epics of great note were written there- 
after, Alamanni composed "Girone il C'ortese" and the 
"Avarchide," which are intolerably long and wearisome. 

"The poet who set the fashion of fantastic ingenuity" 
was Marinus, whose epic "Adone," in twenty cantos, dilates 
on the tale of Venus and Adonis. He also wrote "Geru- 
salemme Distrutta" and "La Strage degl' Innocenti," and 
his poetry is said to have much of the charm of Spenser's. 

The last Italian poet to produce a long epic poem was 
Fortiguerra, whose " Ricciardetto " has many merits, 
although we are told the poet wagered to complete it in 
as many days as it has cantos, and won his bet. 

The greatest of the Italian prose epics is Manzoni's novel 
"I Promessi Sposi," which appeared in 1830. Since then 
Italian poets have not written in the epic vein, save to 
give their contemporaries excellent metrical translations of 
Milton's Paradise Lost, of the Iliad, the Odyssey, the 
Argonautica, the Lusiad, etc. 



Introduction. In the Middle Ages it was popularly 
believed that Lucifer, falling from heaven, pimched a deep 
hole in the earth, stopping only when he reached its centre. 
This funnel-shaped hole, directly under Jerusalem, is 
divided by Dante into nine independent circular ledges, 
communicating only by means of occasional rocky stairways 
or bridges. In each of these nine circles are punished sinners 
of a certain kind. 

Canto I. In 1300, when thirty-five years of age, Dante 
claims to have strayed from the straight path in the 
"journey of Ufe," only to encounter experiences bitter as 
death, which he relates in aUegorieal form to serve as warn- 
ing to other sinners. Rousing from a stupor not unlike 
sleep, the poet finds himself in a strange forest at the foot 


of a sun-kissed mountain. On trying to climb it, he is 
turned aside by a spotted panther, an emblem of luxury 
or pleasure (Florence), a fierce lion, personifying ambition 
or anger (France), and a ravening wolf, the emblem of 
avarice (Eome). Fleeing in terror from these monsters, 
Dante beseeches aid from the only fellow-creature he sees, 
only to learn he is Virgil, the poet and master from whom 
he learned "that style which for its beauty into fame 
exalts me." 

Then Virgil reveals he has been sent to save Dante from 
the ravening wolf (which also personifies the papal or 
Guelf party), only to guide him through the horrors of 
the Inferno, and the sufferings of Purgatory, up to 
Paradise, where a "worthier" spirit will attend him. 

Canto II. The length of the journey proposed daunts 
Dante, until Virgil reminds him that cowardice has often 
made men relinquish honorable enterprises, and encourages 
him by stating that Beatrice, moved by love, forsook her 
place in heaven to bid him serve as Dante's guide. He 
adds that when he wondered how she could leave, even for 
a moment, the heavenly abode, she explained that the 
Virgin Mary sent Lucia, to bid her rescue the man who had 
loved her ever since she was a child. Like a flower revived 
after a chilly night by the warmth of the sun, Dante, in- 
vigorated by these words, intimates his readiness to foUow 

Canto III. The two travellers, passing through a wood, 
reach a gate, above which Dante perceives this inscription: 

"Through me you pass into the city of woe: 
Through me you pass into eternal pain: 
Through me among the people lost for aye. 
Justice the founder of my fabric moved: 
To rear me was the task of power divine, 
Supremest vrisdom, and primeval love. 
Before me things create were none, save things 
Eternal, and eternal I endure. 
All hope abandon, ye who enter here." ' 

'All the quotations in Divine Comedy are taken from Gary's 


Unable to grasp its meaning, Dante begs Virgil to in- 
terpret, and learns they are about to descend into Hades. 
Having visited this place before, Virgil boldly leads Dante 
through this portal into an ante-hell region, where sighs, 
lamentations, and groans pulse through the starless air. 
Shuddering with horror, Dante inquires what it all means, 
only to be told that the souls "who lived without praise or 
blame," as well as the angels who remained neutral during 
the war in heaven, are confined in this place, since Para- 
dise, Purgatory, and Inferno equally refuse to harbor them 
and death never visits them. 

While he is speaking, a long train of these unfortunate 
spirits, stung by gadflies, sweeps past them, and in their 
ranks Dante recognizes the shade of Pope Celestine V, 
who, "through cowardice made the grand renunciation," 
— i.e., abdicated his office at the end of five months, simply 
because he lacked courage to face the task intrusted to him. 

Passing through these spirits with downcast eyes, Dante 
reaches Acheron, — ^the river of death, — where he sees, steer- 
ing toward them, the ferry-man Charon, whose eyes are 
like fiery wheels and who marvels at beholding a living man 
among the shades. When Charon grimly orders Dante back 
to earth, Virgil silences him with the brief statement: "so 
'tis will'd where will and power are one. " So, without fur- 
ther objection, Charon allows them to enter his skiff and 
hurries the rest of his freight aboard, beating the laggards 
with the flat of his oar. Because Dante wonders at such 
ill-treatment, Virgil explains that good souls are never 
forced to cross this stream, and that the present passengers 
have richly deserved their punishment. Just then an earth- 
quake shakes the whole region, and Dante swoons in terror. 

Canto IV. When he recovers his senses, Dante finds 
bimsftlf no longer in Charon's bark, but on the brink of a 
huge circular pit, whence arise, like emanations, moans and 
wails, but wherein, owing to the dense gloom, he can descry 
nothing. Warning him they are about to descend into the 
"blind world," and that his sorrowful expression — ^which 


Dante ascribes to fear — ^is caused by pity, Virgil conducts 
his disciple into the first circle of hell. Instead of lamenta- 
tions, only sighs are heard, while Virgil explains that this 
semi-dark limbo is reserved for unbaptized children, and 
for those who, having lived before Christ, must "live desir- 
ing without hope." Pull of compassion for these sufferers, 
Dante inquires whether no one from above ever visited 
them, and is told that One, bearing trophies of victory, 
once arrived there to ransom the patriarchs Adam, Abel, 
Noah, and others, but that until then none had ever been 

Talking busily, the two wend their way through a 
forest of sighing spirits, until they approach a fire, around 
which dignified shades have gathered. Informing Dante 
these are men of honored reputations, Virgil points out 
among them four mighty figures coming to meet them, and 
whispers they are Homer, Horace, Ovid, and Luean. After 
conversing for a while with Virgil, these bards graciously 
welcome Dante as sixth in their poetic galaxy. Talking of 
things which cannot be mentioned save in such exalted 
company, Dante walks on with them until he nears a castle 
girdled with sevenfold ramparts and moat. Through seven 
consecutive portals the six poets pass on to a meadow, where 
Dante beholds all the creations of their brains, and meets 
Hector, Aeneas, Camilla, and Lucretia, as well as the 
philosophers, historians, and mathematicians who from 
time to time have appeared upon our globe. Although 
Dante would fain have lingered here, his guide leads him 
on, and, as their four companions vanish, they two enter 
a place "where no light shines." 

Canto v. Stepping down from this circle to a lower 
one, Dante and Virgil reach the second circle of the In- 
ferno, where all who lived unchaste lives are duly punished. 

Smaller in circumference than the preceding circle for 

Dante's hell is shaped like a graduated funnel, — ^this place 
is guarded by the judge Minos, who examines all newly 
arrived souls, and consigns them to their appointed circles 
by an equal number of convolutions in his tail. 


For when before him comes the ill-fated soul. 
It all confesses; and that judge severe 
Of sins, considering what place in hell 
Suits the transgression, with his tail so oft 
Himself encircles, as degrees beneath 
He dooms it to descend. 

On beholding Dante, Minos speaks threateningly, but, 
when Virgil again explains they have been sent hither 
by a higher power, Minos too allows them to pass. In- 
creasing sounds of woe now strike Dante's ear, until pres- 
ently they attain the intensity of a deafening roar. Next 
he perceives that the whirlwind, sweeping violently round 
this abyss, holds in its grasp innumerable spirits which are 
allowed no rest. Like birds in a tempest they swirl past 
Dante, to whom Virgil hastily points out Semiramis, Dido, 
Cleopatra, Helen, Achilles, Paris, and Tristan, together 
with many others. 

Obtaining permission to address two shades floating 
toward him, Dante learns that the man is the Paolo who 
fell in love with his sister-in-law, Francesca da Rimini. 
Asked how she happened to fall, the female spirit, moan- 
ing there is no greater woe than to recall happy times in the 
midst of misery, adds that while she and Paolo read to- 
gether the tale of Launcelot they suddenly realized they 
loved in the same way, and thus fell into the very sin 
described in this work, for "book and writer both were 
love's purveyors." Scarcely has she confessed this when 
the wind, seizing Francesca and Paolo, again sweeps them 
on, and Dante, hearing their pitiful moans, swoons from 

Canto VI. Recovering his senses, Dante finds Virgil 
has meantime transferred him to the third circle, a region 
where chill rains ever fall, accompanied by hail, sleet, and 
snow. Here all guilty of gluttony are rent and torn by 
Cerberus, main ruler of this circle. Flinging a huge fistful 
of dirt into the dog's gaping jaws to prevent his snapping 
at them, Virgil leads Dante quickly past this three-headed 
monster, to a place where they tread on the shades which 
pave the muddy ground, One of these, sitting up, sud- 


denly inquires of Dante wlietlier he does not recognize 
him, adding that he is the notorious Florentine glutton 
Ciacco. Fancying this shade may possess some insight 
into the future, Dante inquires what is to become of his 
native city, and learns that one poUtical party will drive 
out the other, only to fall in its turn three years later. The 
glutton adds that only two just men are left in Florence, 
and, when Dante asks what has become of his friends, 
tells him he will doubtless meet them in the various circles 
of Hades, should he continue his downward course. 

Then the spirit begs that, on returning to the "pleasant 
world, ' ' Dante will recall him to his friends ' memory, and, 
closing his eyes, sinks back among the other victims, all of 
whom are more or less blind. Vouchsafing the information 
that this sinner will not rise again "ere the last angel- 
trumpet blow," Virgil leads Dante dver the foul mixture 
of shades and mud, explaining that, although the accursed 
can never hope to attain perfection, they are not entirely 
debarred from improvement. 

Canto VII. Talking thus, the two travellers descend 
to the fourth circle, ruled by Plutus, god of wealth, who 
allows them to proceed, only after Virgil has informed him 
their journey is ordained, and is to be pursued to the very 
spot where Michael confined Satan. The mere mention 
of his master, the ex-archangel, causes Plutus to grovel; 
and Dante and Virgil, proceeding on their journey, dis- 
cover that the fourth circle is occupied by all whom avarice 
mastered, as well as by prodigals, who are here condemned 
to roll heavy rocks, because their lives on earth were spent 
scuffling for money or because they failed to make good use 
of their gold. Dante descries among the victims tonsured 
poUs, proving that monks themselves are not exempt from 
these sins. Meanwhile Virgil expounds how the Creator 
decreed nations should wield the mastery in turn, adding 
that these people are victims of Fortune, whose proverbial 
fickleness he ably describes. 

After passing a weU, whose boiUng waters overflow 
and form a stream, they foUow the latter 's downward 


course to the marsh, called Styx, where hundreds of naked 
creatures wallow in the mire, madly clutching and striking 
each other. Virgil explains that these are those "whom 
anger overcame," and adds that the sullen are buried be- 
neath the slimy waters, where their presence is betrayed 
by bubbles caused by their breath which continually rise 
to the surface. Edging around this loathsome pool, the 
two poets finally arrive at the door of a tall tower. 

Canto VIII. From the lofty turret flash flaming 
signals, evidently designed to summon some bark or ferry, 
since a vessel soon appears. Once more Virgil has to 
silence a snarling boatman (Phlegyas) ere he can enter 
his skiff, where he invites Dante to follow him. Then they 
row across the mire, whence heads keep emerging from 
time to time. One of the sufferers confined here suddenly 
asks Dante, "Who art thou that earnest ere thine hour?" 
only to be hastily assured the poet does not intend to stay. 
Just as Dante expresses the wish to know whom he is 
addressing, he recognizes this sinner (Argenti) and turns 
from him in loathing, an act which wins Virgil's approval. 
When Dante further mutters he wishes this monster were 
stifled in the mud, Virgil suddenly points to a squad of 
avenging spirits who, sweeping downward, are about to 
fulfil this cruel wish, when the culprit rends himself to 
pieces with his ovra teeth and plunges back into the Styx. 

Sailing along, Virgil tries to prepare Dante for their 
arrival at the city of Dis, whose minarets, colored by a fiery 
glow from within, now shine in the distance. Steered into 
the moat surrounding this city, the travellers slowly circle 
its iron walls, from which hosts of lost souls lean clamoring, 
"Who is this that without death first felt goes through 
the region of the dead?" When Virgil signals he will 
explain, the demons disappear as if to admit them; but, 
when the travellers reach the gates, they find them still 
tightly closed. Virgil then explains that these very demons 
tried to oppose even Christ's entrance to Hades, and adds 
that their power was broken on the first Easter Day. 

Canto IX, Quailing with terror, Dante hears Virgil 



admit that few have undertaken to tread these paths, 
although they are familiar to him, seeing that, guided by 
a witch (the Sibyl of Cumaea), he came here with Aeneas. 
While Virgil is talking, the three Furies appear on top of 
the tower, and, noting the intruders, clamor for Medusa 
to come and turn them into stone! Bidding Dante avoid 
the Gorgon's petrifying glance, Virgil further assures the 
safety of his charge by holding his hands over Dante's 
eyes. While thus blinded, the author of the poem hears 
waves splash against the shore, and, when Virgil's hands 
are removed, perceives an angel walking dry-shod over 
the Styx. At a touch from his hand, the gates of Dis open 
wide, and, without paying heed to the poets, who have in- 
stinctively assumed the humblest attitude, their divine 
rescuer recrosses the bog, leaving them free to enter into 
the iron fortress. There they find countless sinners cased 
in red-hot cofiSns sunk in burning marl. On questioning 
his guide, Dante learns each open sepulchre contains an 
arch-heretic, or leader of some religious sect, and that each 
tomb is heated to a degree corresponding to the extent of 
the harm done by its occupant's teachings. 

Canto X. Gingerly treading between burning tombs 
and fortress wall, Virgil conducts Dante to an open sepul- 
chre, where lies the Ghibelline leader Farinata. Partly 
rising out of his glowing tomb, this warrior informs Dante 
that the Guelfs — ^twice driven out of Florence — ^have re- 
turned thither. At that moment another victim, peering 
over the edge of his coffin, anxiously begs for news of his 
son Guido, thus proving that, while these unfortunates 
know both past and future, the present remains a mystery 
to them. Too amazed at first to speak, Dante mentions 
Guido in the past tense, whereupon the unhappy father, 
rashly inferring his son is dead, plunges back into his 
sepulchre with a desperate cry. Not being able to correct 
his involuntary mistake and thus comfort this sufferer, 
Dante begs Farinata to inform his neighbor, as soon as 
possible, that his son is still alive. Then, perplexed by all 
he has seen and heard, Dante passes thoughtfully on, noting 


the victims punished in this place, until, seeing his dismay, 
Virgil comforts him with the assurance that Beatrice will 
explain all he wishes to know at the end of his journey. 

Canto XI. The poets now approach a depression, 
whence arises a stench so nauseating that they are compelled 
to take refuge behind a stone tomb to avoid choking. 
"While they pause there, Dante perceives this sepulchre 
bears the name of Pope Anastasius, who has been led 
astray. Tarrying there to become acclimated to the smell, 
Virgil iaforms his companion they are about to pass 
through three gradations of the seventh circle, where are 
punished the violent, or those who by force worked injury 
to God, to themselves, or to their fellowmen. 

Canto XII. His charge sufficiently prepared for what 
awaits him, Virgil leads the way down a steep path to the 
next rim, where they are confronted by the Minotaur, be- 
fore whom Dante quails, but whom Virgil defies by mention- 
ing Theseus. Taking advantage of the moment when the 
furious, bull-like monster charges at him with lowered head, 
Virgil runs with Dante down a declivity, where the stones, 
unaccustomed to the weight of mortal feet, slip and roll in 
ominous fashion. This passage, Virgil declares, was less 
dangerous when he last descended into Hades, for it has 
since been riven by the earthquake which shook this region 
when Christ descended into hell. 

Pointing to a boiling river of blood (Phlegethon) be- 
neath them, Virgil shows Dante sinners immersed in it at 
different depths, because while on earth they offered violence 
to their neighbors. Although anxious to escape from these 
bloody waters, the wicked are kept within their appointed 
bounds by troops of centaurs, who, armed with bows and 
arrows, continually patrol the banks. When these guards 
threateningly challenge Virgil, he calmly rejoins he wishes 
to see their leader, Chiron, and, while awaiting the arrival 
of this worthy, shows Dante the monster who tried to kid- 
nap Hercules' wife. 

On drawing near them, Chiron' is amazed to perceive 
one of the intruders is alive, as is proved by the fact that 


he casts a shadow and that stones roll beneath his tread! 
Noticing his amazement, Virgil explains he has been sent 
here to guide his mortal companion through the Inferno, 
and beseeches Chiron to detail a centaur to carry Dante 
across the river of blood, since he cannot, spirit-like, tread 
air. Selecting Nessus for this duty, Chiron bids him con- 
vey the poet safely across the bloody stream, and, ■whUe 
performing this ofSce, the centaur explains that the victims 
more or less deeply immersed in blood are tyrants who 
delighted in bloodshed, such as Alexander, Dionysius, and 
others. Borne by Nessus and escorted by Virgil, Dante 
reaches the other shore, and, taking leave of them, the 
centaur "alone repass 'd the ford." 

Canto XIII. The travellers now enter a wild forest, 
which occupies the second division of the seventh circle, 
where Virgil declares each barren thorn-tree is inhabited 
by the soul of a suicide. In the gnarly branches perch the 
Harpies, whose uncouth lamentations echo through the air, 
and who greedily devour every leaf that sprouts. Appalled 
by the sighs and wailrngs around him, Dante questions 
Virgil, who directs him to break off a twig. No sooner has 
he done so than he sees blood trickle from the break and 
hears a voice reproach him for his cruelty. Thus Dante 
learns that the inmate of this tree was once private secretary 
to Frederick II, and that, having fallen into unmerited 
disgrace, he basely took refuge in suicide. This victim's 
words have barely died away when the blast of a horn is 
heard, and two naked forms are seen fleeing madly before 
a huntsman and a pack of mastiffs. The latter, pouncing 
upon one victim, tears him to pieces, while Dante shudders 
at this sight. Meantime Virgil explains that the culprit 
was a young spendthrift, ajid that huntsman and hounds 
represent the creditors whose pursuit he tried to escape by 
killing himself. 

Canto XIV. Leaving this ghastly forest, Dante is led 
to the third division of this circle, a region of burning 
sands, where hosts of naked souls lie on the ground, blist- 
ered and scathed by the rain of fire and vaMy tr3nng to 


lessen their pain by thrashing themselves with their hands. 
One figure, the mightiest among them, alone seems indiffer- 
ent to the burning rain, and, when Dante inquires who 
this may be, Virgil returns it is Capaneus (one of the seven 
kings who besieged Thebes ^), who, in his indomitable pride, 
taunted Jupiter and was slain by his thunderbolt. 

Treading warily to avoid the burning sands, Virgil 
and his disciple cross a ruddy brook which flows straight 
down from Mount Ida in Crete, where it rises at the foot 
of a statue whose face is turned toward Bome. Virgil ex- 
plains that the waters of this stream are formed by the 
tears of the unhappy, which are plentiful enough to feed 
the four mighty rivers of Hades! While following the 
banks of this torrent, Dante questions why they have not 
yet encountered the other two rivers which fall into the 
pit ; and discovers that, although they have been travelling 
in a circle, they have not by far completed one whole round 
of the gigantic funnel, but have stepped down from one 
ledge to the other after walking only a short distance around 
each circumference. 

Canto XV. The high banks of the stream of tears pro- 
tect our travellers from the burning sands and the rain of 
fire, until they encounter a procession of souls, each one of 
which stares fixedly at them. One of these recognizes 
Dante, who in his turn is amazed to find there his old 
school-master Ser Brunetto, whom he accompanies on his 
way, after he learns he and his fellow-sufferers are not 
allowed to stop, under penalty of lying a hundred years 
without fanning themselves beneath the rain of fire. Walk- 
ing by his former pupil's side, Brunetto in his turn ques- 
tions Dante and learns how and why he has come down here, 
ere he predicts that in spite of persecutions the poet will 
ultimately attain great fame. 

Canto XVI. Reaching a spot where the stream they 
are following suddenly thunders down into the eighth 
circle, Dante beholds three spirits running toward him, 

' See the author's " Story of the Greeks." 


whirling round one another "in one restless wheel," while 
loudly exclaiming his garb denotes he is their feUow 
cotmtryman ! Gazing into their fire-scarred faces, Dante 
learns these are three powerful Guelfs; and when they 
crave tidings of their native city, he tells them all that 
has recently occurred there. Before vanishing these spirits 
piteously implore him to speak of them to mortals on his 
return to earth, and leave Dante and Virgil to follow the 
stream to the verge of the abyss. There Virgil loosens 
the rope knotted around Dante's waist, and, casting one 
end of it down into the abyss, intimates that what he is 
awaiting will soon appear. A moment later a monster 
rises from the depths, climbing hand over hand up the 

Canto XVII. This monster is Geryon, the personifica- 
tion of fraud, and therefore a mixture of man, beast, and 
serpent. When he reaches the upper ledge, Virgil bar- 
gains with him to carry them down, while Dante converses 
with neighboring sorrowful souls, who are perched on the 
top of the cliff and hide their faces in their hands. All 
these spirits wear purses around their necks, because as 
.usurers while on earth they lived on ill-gotten gains. Not 
daring to keep his guide waiting, Dante leaves these sinners, 
and hurries back just as Virgil is taking his seat on the 
monster's back. Grasping the hand stretched out to him, 
Dante then timorously mounts beside his guide. 

"Ab one, who hath an ague fit so near, 
His nails already are turn'd blue, and he 
Quivers all o'er, if he but eye the shade; 
Such was my cheer at hearing of his words. 
But shame soon interposed her threat, who makes 
The servant bold in presence of his lord. 

I settled me upon those shoulders huge, 
And would have said, but that the words to aid 
My purpose came not, ' Look thou clasp me firm.' " 

Then, bidding Dante hold fast so as not to fall, Virgil 
gives the signal for departure. Wheeling slowly, Geryon 
flies downward, moderating his speed so as not to unseat 


his passengers. Comparing his sensations to those of 
Phaeton falling from the sun-chariot, or to Icarus' horror 
when he dropped into the sea, Dante describes how, as 
they circled down on the beast's back, he caught fleeting 
glimpses of fiery pools and was almost deafened by the 
rising chorus of wails. With a falcon-like swoop Geryon 
finally alights on the next level, and, having deposited his 
passengers at the foot of a splintered rock, darts away like 
an arrow from a taut bow-string. 

1 Canto XVIII. The eighth circle, called Malebolge 
(Evil Pits), is divided into ten gulfs, between which rocky 
arches form bridge-like passages. This whole' region is of 
stone and ice, and from the pit in the centre continually 
rise horrid exhalations. Among the unfortunates inces- 
santly lashed by horned demons in the first gulf, Dante 
perceives one who was a notorious pander on earth and 
who is justly suffering the penalty of his crimes. Later 
on, watching a train of culprits driven by other demons, 
Dante recognizes among them Jason, who secured the 
Golden Fleece, thanks to Medea, but proved faithless toward 
her in the end. 

Crossing to the second division, Dante beholds sinners 
buried in dung, in punishment for having led astray their 
feUow-creatures by flattery. One of them, — ^whom the poet 
recognizes, — emerging from his filthy bath, sadly confesses, 
"Me thus low down my flatteries have sunk, wherewith I 
ne'er enough could glut my tongue." In this place Dante 
also notes the harlot Thais, expiating her sins, with other 
notorious seducers and flatterers. 

Canto XIX. By means of another rocky bridge the 
travellers reach the third gulf, where are punished all 
who have been guilty of simony. These are sunk, head 
first, in a series of burning pits, whence emerge only the 
red-hot soles of their convulsively agitated feet. Seeing a 
ruddier flame hover over one pair of soles, Dante timidly 
inquires to whom they belong, whereupon Virgil, carrying 
him down to this spot, bids him seek his answer from the 
culprit himself. Peering down into the stone-pit, Dante 


then timidly proffers his request, only to be hotly reviled 
by Pope Nicholas III, who first mistakes his interlocutor 
for Pope Boniface, and confesses he was brought to this 
state by nepotism. But, when he predicts a worse pope 
will ultimately follow him down into this region, Dante 
sternly rebukes him. 

Canto XX. Virgil is so pleased with Dante's speech to 
Pope Nicholas that, seizing him in his arms, he carries 
him swiftly over the bridge which leads to the fourth 
division. Here Dante beholds a procession of chanting 
criminals whose heads are turned to face their backs. This 
sight proves so awful that Dante weeps, until Virgil bids 
him note the different culprits. Among them is the witch 
Manto, to whom Mantua, his native city, owes its name, 
and Dante soon learns that all these culprits are the famous 
soothsayers, diviners, magicians, and witches of the world, 
who thus are punished for having presumed to predict the 

Canto XXI. From the top of the next bridge they 
gaze into a dark pit, where public peculators are plunged 
into boiling pitch, as Dante discovers by the odor, which 
keenly reminds him of the shipyards at Venice. Virgil 
there directs Dante's attention toward a demon, who hurls 
a sinner headlong into the boiling tar, and, without watch- 
ing to see what becomes of him, departs in quest of some 
other victim. The poet also perceives that, whenever a 
sinner's head emerges from the pitchy waves, demons thrust 
him down again by means of long forks. To prevent his 
charge falling a prey to these active evil spirits, Virgil 
directs Dante to hide behind a pillar of the bridge and 
from thence watch all that is going on. 

"While Dante lurks there, a demon, descrying him, is 
about to attack him, but Virgil so vehemently proclaims 
they are here by Heaven's will that the evil spirit drops 
his fork and becomes powerless to harm them. Perceiving 
the effect he has produced, Virgil then summons Dante from 
his hiding-place, and sternly orders the demon to guide 


them safely through the raxiks of his grimacing fellows, 
all of whom make obscene gestures as they pass. 

Canto XXII. Dante, having taken part in battles, is 
famihar with military manoeuvres, but he declares he 
never behold such ably marshalled troops as the demon 
hosts through which they pass. Prom time to time he 
sees a devil emerge from the ranks to plunge sinners back 
into the lake of pitch, or to spear one with his fork and, 
after letting him squirm aloft for a while, hurl him back 
into the asphalt lake. One of these victims, questioned by 
Virgil, acknowledges he once held office in Navarre, but, 
rather than suffer at the hands of the demon tormentors, 
this peculator voluntarily plunges back into the pitch. 
Seeing this, the baffled demons fight each other, until two 
actually fall into the lake, whence they are fished in sowy 
plight by fellow-fiends. 

Canto XXIII. By a passage-way so narrow they are 
obliged to proceed single file, Dante and Virgil reach the 
next division, the author of this poem continually gazing 
behind him for fear lest the demons pursue him. His fears 
are only too justified, and Virgil, seeing his peril, catches 
him up in his arms and runs with him to the next gulf, 
knowing demons never pass beyond their beat. 

"Never ran water with such hurrying pace 
Adown the tube to turn a land-mill's wheel. 
When nearest it approaches to the spokes, 
As then along that edge my master ran, 
Carrying me in his bosom, as a child. 
Not a companion." 

In the sixth division where they now arrive, they behold 
a procession of victims, weighed down by gilded leaden 
cowls, creeping along so slowly that Dante and Virgil pass 
all along their line although they are not walking fast. 
Hearing one of these bowed figures address him, Dante 
learns that, because he and his companions were hypocrites 
on earth, they are doomed to travel constantly around this 
circle of the Inferno, fainting beneath heavy loads. 

A moment later Dante notices that the narrow path 


ahead of tliem is blocked by a writhing figure pitmed to 
the ground by three stakes. This is Caiaphas, who in- 
sisted it was fitting that one man suffer for the people and 
who, having thus sentenced Christ to the cross, has to en- 
dure the whole procession to tramp over his prostrate form. 
The cowled figure with whom Dante is conversing informs 
him, besides, that in other parts of the circle are Ananias 
and the other members of the Sanhedrim who condemned 
Christ. Deeming Dante has now seen enough of this 
region, Virgil inquires where they can find an exit from 
this gulf, and is shown by a spirit a steep ascent. 

Cam,to XXIV. So precipitous is this passage that 
Virgil half carries his charge, and, panting hard, both 
scramble to a ledge overhanging the seventh gulf of Male- 
bolge, where innumerable serpents prey upon naked rob- 
bers, whose hands are bound behind them by writhing 
snakes. Beneath the constant bites of these reptiles, the 
robber-victims turn to ashes, only to rise phcenix-like a 
moment later and undergo renewed torments. Dante con- 
verses with one of these spirits, who, after describing his 
own misdeeds, prophesies in regard to the future of 

Canto XXV. The blasphemous speeches and gestures 
of this speaker are sUeneed by an onslaught of snakes, 
before whose attack he attempts to flee, only to be over- 
taken and tortured by a serpent-ridden centaur, whom 
Virgil designates as Cacus. Further on, the travellers be- 
hold three culprits who are alternately men and writhing 
snakes, always, however, revealing more of the reptile than 
of the human nature and form. 

"The other two 
Look'd on, exclaiming, 'Ah! How dost thou change, 
Agnello! See! thou art nor double now 
Nor only one.' The two heads now became 
One, and two figures blended in one form 
Appear'd, where both were lost. Of the four lengths 
Two arms were made: the belly and the chest, 
The thighs and legs, into such members changed 
As never eye hath seen." 


Canto XXVI. From another bridge Dante gazes down 
into the eighth gulf, where, in the midst of the flames, are 
those who gave evil advice to their fellow-creatures. Here 
Dante recognizes Diomedes, Ulysses, and sundry other 
heroes of the Iliad, — ^with whom his guide speaks, — and 
learns that Ulysses, after his return to Ithaca, resumed his 
explorations, ventured beyond the pillars of Hercules, and, 
while sailing in the track of the sun, was drowned in sight 
of a high mountain. 

Canto XXVII. In the midst of another bed of flames, 
Dante next discovers another culprit, to whom he gives the 
history of the Romagna, and whose life-story he hears be- 
fore following his leader down to the ninth gulf of Male- 

Canto XXVIII. In this place Dante discovers the 
sowers of scandal, schism, and heresy, who exhibit more 
wounds than all the Italian wars occasioned. Watching 
them, Dante perceives that each victim is ripped open by 
a demon's sword, but that his wounds heal so rapidly that 
every time the spirit passes a demon again his torture is 
renewed. Among these victims Dante recognizes Mahomet, 
who, wondering that a living man should visit hell, points 
out Dante to his fellow-shades. Passing by the travellers, 
sundry victims mention their names, and Dante thus dis- 
covers among them the leaders of strife between sundry 
Italian states, and shudders when Bertrand de Bom, a 
fellow minstrel, appears bearing his own head instead of 
a lantern, in punishment for persuading the son of 
Henry II, of England, to rebel.. 

Canto XXIX. Gazing in a dazed way at the awful 
sights of this circle, Dante learns it is twenty-one miles 
in circumference, ere he passes on to the next bridge, where 
lamentations such as assail one's ears in a hospital con- 
stantly arise. In the depths of the tenth pit, into which 
he now peers, Dante distinguishes victims of all manners 
of diseases, and learns these are the alchemists and forgers 
undergoing the penalty of their sins. Among them Dante 
perceives a man who was buried alive on earth for offering 


to teach mortals to fly ! So preposterous did such a claim 
appear to Miaoa — ^judge of the dead — ^that he ruthlessly 
condemned its originator to undergo the punishment 
awarded to magicians, alchemists, and other pretenders. 

Ccmto XXX. Virgil now points out to Dante sundry 
impostors, perpetrators of fraud, and false-coiners, among 
whom we note the woman who falsely accused Joseph, and 
Sinon, who persuaded the Trojans to convey the wooden 
horse into their city. Not content with the tortures in- 
flicted upon them, these criminals further increase each 
others' sufferings hy cruel taunts, and Dante, fascinated by 
what he sees, lingers beside this pit, until Virgil cuttingly 
intimates "to hear such wrangling is a joy for vulgar 

Canto XXXI. Touched by the remorseful shame which 
Dante now shows, Virgil draws him on until they are 
almost deafened by a louder blast than was uttered by 
Roland's horn at Roncevaux. Peering in the direction of 
the sound, Dante descries what he takes for lofty towers, 
until Virgil informs him that when they draw nearer still 
he will discover they are giants standing in the lowest pit 
but looming far above it in the mist. Ere long Dante stares 
in wonder at chained giants seventy feet tall, whom Virgil 
designates as Nimrod, Ephialtes, and Antaeus. 

As with circling round 
Of turrets, Monter^gion crowns his walls; 
E'en thus the shore, encompassing the abyss, 
Was turreted with giants, half their length 
Uprearing, horrible, whom Jove from heaven 
Yet threatens, when his muttering thunder rolls 

Antaeus being unchained, Virgil persuades him to lift 
them both down in the hollow of his hands to the next 
level, "where guilt is at its depth." Although Dante's 
terror in the giant's grip is almost overwhelming, he is 
relieved when his feet touch the ground once more, and 
he watches with awe as the giant straightens up again like 
the mast of a huge ship. 


" Yet in the abyss. 
That Lucifer with Judas low ingulfs, 
Lightly he placed us; nor, there leaning, stay'd; 
But rose, as in a barque the stately mast" 

Canto XXXII. Confessing that it is no easy task to 
describe the bottom of the universe which he has now 
reached, Dante relates how perpendicular rocks reached 
up on all sides as far as he could see. He is gazing upward 
in silent wonder, when Virgil suddenly cautions him to 
beware lest he tread upon some unfortunate. Gazing down 
at his feet, Dante then becomes aware that he is standing 
on a frozen lake, wherein stick fast innumerable sinners, 
whose heads alone emerge, cased in ice owing to the tears 
constantly flowing down their cheeks. 

Seeing two so close together that their very hair seems 
to mingle, Dante, on inquiring, learns they are two brothers 
who slew each other in an inheritance quarrel, for this is 
Caina, the region where the worst murderers are punished, 
and, like every other part of the Inferno, it is crowded 
with figures. 

"A thousand visages 
Then mark'd I, which the keen and eager cold 
Had shaped into a doggish grin; whence creeps 
A shivering horror o'er me, at the thought 
Of those frore shallows." 

It happens that, while following his guide over the 
ice, Dante's foot strikes a projecting head. Permission 
being granted bim to question its owner, Dante, because he 
at first refuses to speak, threatens to pull every hair out 
of his head, and actually gives him a few hard tugs. Then 
the man admits he is a traitor and that there are many 
others of his ilk in Antenora, the second division of the 
lowest circle. 

Canto XXXIII. Beholding another culprit greedily 
gnawing the head of a companion, Dante learns that while 
on earth this culprit was Count Ugolino de'GherardeBchi, 
whom his political opponents, headed by the Archbishop 
Ruggiero, seized by treachery and locked up in the Famine- 
tower at Pisa, with two sons and two grandsons. Ugolino 


feelingly describes his horror when one momiag he heard 
them nail up the door of the prison, and realized he and 
his were doomed to starve ! Not a word did the prisoners 
exchange regarding their fate, although all were aware 
of the suffering awaiting them. At the end of twenty-four 
hours, beholding traces of hunger in the beloved faces of 
his children, Ugolino gnawed his fists in pain. One of his 
grandsons, interpreting this as a sign of unbearable hunger, 
then suggested that he eat one of them, whereupon he 
realized how needful it was to exercise self -control if he 
did not wish to increase the sufferings of the rest. Ugolino 
then describes how they daily grew weaker, until his grand- 
sons died at the end of the fourth day, vainly begging him 
to help them. Then his sons passed away, and, groping 
blindly among the dead, he lingered on, until, famine be- 
coming more potent than anything else, he yielded to its 
demands. Having finished this grewsome tale, Ugolino 
continued his feast upon the head of his foe ! 

" Thus having spoke, 
Once more upon the wretched skull his teeth 
He fasten'd like a mastiff's 'gainst the bone, 
Firm and unyielding." 

Dante, passing on, discovers many other victims en- 
cased in the ice, and is so chiUed by a glacial breeze that 
his face muscles stiffen. He is about to ask Virgil whence 
this wind proceeds, when one of the ice-encrusted victims 
implores him to remove its hard mask from his face. Prom- 
ising to do so in return for the man's story, Dante learns 
he is a friar who, in order to rid himself of inconvenient 
kinsmen, invited them all to dinner, where he suddenly 
uttered the fatal words which served as a signal for hidden 
assassins to despatch them. When Dante indignantly ex- 
claims the perpetrator of this heinous deed is on earth, 
the criminal admits that, although his shadow still lingers 
above ground, his soul is down here in Ptolomea, under- 
going the penalty for his sins. Hearing this, Dante refuses 
to clear away the ice, and excuses himself to his readers 
by stating "ill manners were best courtesy to him." 


Canto XXXIV. Virgil now directs Dante's glance 
ahead, until our poet dimly descries what looks like, an 
immense windmill. Placing Dante behind him to shield 
him a little from the cruel blast, Virgil leads him past 
countless culprits, declaring they have reached Judecca, a 
place where it behooves bim to arm his heart with strength. 
So stiff with cold that he is hovering between life and 
death, Dante now beholds Dis or Satan, — Emperor of the 
Infernal Eegions, — sunk in ice down to his waist, and dis- 
covers that the wind is caused by the constant flutter of his 
bat-like wings. He also perceives that Satan is as much 
larger than the giants just seen, as they surpass mankind, 
and states that, were the father of evil as fair as he is foul, 
one might understand his daring to defy God. 

" If he were beautiful 
As he Is hideous now, and yet did dare 
To scowl upon his Maker, well from him 
May all our misery flow." 

Then Dante describes Satan's three heads, one red, one 
yellow and white, and one green, declaring that the arch- 
fiend munches in each mouth the sinners Judas, Cassius, 
and Brutus. After allowing Dante to gaze a while at this 
appalling sight, Virgil informs his charge that, having seen 
all, it behooves them to depart. With a brief order to 
Dante to cling tightly around his neck, Virgil, seizing a 
moment when Satan's wings are raised, darts beneath them, 
and clutching the demon 's shaggy sides painfully descends 
toward the centre of the earth. Down, down they go until 
they reach the evil spirit's thighs, where, the centre of 
earth's gravity being reached, Virgil suddenly turns around 
and begins an upward climb with his burden. Although 
Dante fully expects soon to behold Satan's head once more, 
he is amazed to discover they are climbing up his leg. 
Then, through a chimney-like ascent, where the climbing 
demands all their strength, Dante and Virgil ascend toward 
the upper air. 

Explaining they are about to emerge at the antipodes 


of the spot where they entered Hades, where they will 
behold the great Western Sea, Virgil adds they will find in 
its centre the Mount of Purgatory, constructed of the 
earth displaced by Satan's fall. Thus, Dante and his leader 
return to the bright world, and, issuing from the dark pas- 
sage in which they have been travelling, once more behold 
the stars! 

" By that hidden way 
My guide and I did enter, to return 
To the fair world: and heedless of repose 
We climb'd, he first, I following his steps, 
Till on our view the beautiful lights of heaven 
Dawn'd through a circular opening in the cave: 
Thence issuing we again beheld the stars." 


Canto I. About to sing of a region where htunaa spirits 
are purged of their sins and prepared to enter heaven, 
Dante invokes the aid of the muses. Then, gazing about 
him, he diseovera he is in an atmosphere of sapphire hue, 
all the more lovely because of the contrast with the infernal 
gloom whence he has just emerged. It is just before dawn, 
and he beholds with awe four bright stars, — ^the Southern 
Cross, — ^which symbolize the four cardinal virtues (Pru- 
dence, Justice, Fortitude, and Temperance). 

After contemplating these stars awhile, Dante, turning 
to the north to get his bearings, perceives Virgil has been 
joined in this ante-purgatorial region by Cato, who wonder- 
ingly inquires how they escaped "the eternal prison-house." 

Virgil's gesture and example have meantime forced 
Dante to his knees, so it is in this position that the Latin 
poet explains how a lady in heaven bade him rescue Dante 
— ^before it was too late — ^by guiding him through hell and 
showing him how sinners are cleansed in Purgatory. The 
latter part of Virgil's task can, however, be accomplished 
only if Cato will allow them to enter the realm which he 
guards. Moved by so eloquent a plea, Cato directs Virgil 
to wash all traces of tears and of infernal mirk from Dante's 


face, girdle him with a reed in token of humility, and then 
ascend the Mount of Purgatory, — formed of the earthy 
core ejected from Hades, — ^which he points out in the mid- 
dle of a lake with reedy shores. 

Leading his charge in the early dawn across a meadow, 
Virgil draws his hands first through the dewy grass and 
then over Dante 's face, and, having thus removed 'all visible 
traces of the passage through Hades, takes him down to the 
shore to girdle him with a pliant reed, the emblem of 

Canto II. Against the whitening east they now behold a 
ghostly vessel advancing toward them, and when it ap- 
proaches near enough they descry an angel standing at its 
prow, his outspread wings serving as sails. While Dante 
again sinks upon his knees, he hears, faintly at first, the 
passengers in the boat staging the psalm "When Israel 
went out of Egypt." 

Making a sign of the cross upon each passenger's brow, 
the angel allows his charges to land, and vanishes at sun- 
rise, just as the new-comers, turning to Virgil, humbly in- 
quire the way to the mountain. Virgil rejoins that he 
too is a recent arrival, although he and his companion 
travelled a far harder road than theirs. His words mak- 
ing them aware of the fact that Dante is a living man, 
the spirits crowd around him, eager to touch him. Among 
them he recognizes the musician Casella, his friend. 
Unable to. embrace a spirit, — although he tries to do so, — 
Dante, after explaining his own presence here, begs Casella 
to comfort all present by singing of love. Just as this 
strain ends, Cato reappears, urging them to hasten to the 
mountain and there cast aside the scales which conceal 
God from their eyes. At these words all the souls present 
scatter like a covey of pigeons, and begin ascending the 
mountain, whither Virgil and Dante slowly follow them. 

" As a wild flock of pigeons, to their food 
Collected, blade or tares, without their pride 
Accustomed, and in still and quiet sort. 
If aught alarm them, suddenly desert 


Their meal, assail'd by more important care; 
So I that new-come troop beheld, the song 
Deserting, hasten to the mountain's side. 
As one who goes, yet, where he tends, knows not." 

Canto III. While painfully ascending the steep slope, 
Dante, seeing only his own shadow lengthening out before 
him, fears his guide has abandoned him, and is relieved to 
see Virgil close behind him and to hear him explain that 
disembodied spirits cast no shadow. While they are talk- 
ing, they reach the foot of the mountain and are daunted 
by its steep and rocky sides. They are vainly searching 
for some crevice whereby they may hope to ascend, when 
they behold a slowly advancing procession of white-robed 
figures, from whom Virgil humbly inquires the way. 

" As sheep, that step from forth their fold, by one. 
Or pairs, or three at once; meanwhile the rest 
Stand fearfully, bending the eye and nose 
To ground, and what the foremost does, that do 
The others, gathering round her if she stops. 
Simple and quiet, nor the cause discern; 
So saw I moving to advance the first. 
Who of the fortunate crew were at the head. 
Of modest mien, and graceful in their gait. 
When they before me had beheld the light 
From my right side fall broken on the ground. 
So that the shadow reach'd the cave; they stopp'd. 
And somewhat back retired: the same did all 
Who follow'd, though unwitting of the cause." 

These spirits too are startled at the sight of a living 
being, but, when Virgil assures them Dante is not here 
without warrant, they obligingly point out "the straight 
and narrow way" which serves as entrance to Purgatory. 
This done, one spirit, detaching itself from the rest, in- 
quires whether Dante does not remember Manfred, King of 
Naples and Sicily, and whether he will not, on his return 
to earth, inform the princess that her father repented of 
his sins at the moment of death and now bespeaks her 
prayers to shorten his time of probation. 

Canto IV. Dazed by what he has just seen and heard, 
Dante becomes conscious of his surroundings once more, 


only when the sun stands considerably higher, and when 
he has arrived at the foot of a rocky pathway, up which 
he painfully follows Virgil, helping himself with his 
hands as well as his feet. Arrived at its top, both gaze 
wonderingly around them, and perceive by the position 
of the sun that they must be at the antipodes of Florence, 
where their journey began. Panting with the exertions 
he has just made, Dante expresses some fear lest his 
strength may fail him, whereupon Virgil kindly assures 
him the way, so arduous at first, will become easier and 
easier the higher they ascend. 

Just then a voice, addressing them, advises them to 
rest, and Dante, turning, perceives, among other spirits, 
a sitting figure, in whom he recognizes a friend noted for 
his laziness. On questioning this spirit, Dsmte learns that 
this friend, Belacqua, instead of exerting himself to elimb 
the mount of Purgatory, is idly waiting in hopes of being 
wafted upward by the prayers of some "heart which 
lives in grace." Such slothfulness irritates Virgil, who 
hurries Dante on, warning him the sun has already reached 
its meridian and night will all too soon overtake them. 

Canto v. Heedless of the whispered comments behind 
him because he is opaque and not transparent like the 
other spirits, Dante follows Virgil, until they Overtake a 
band of spirits chanting the Miserere. These too seem 
surprised at Dante's density, and, when assured he is 
alive, eagerly inquire whether he can give them any tidings 
of friends and families left on earth. Although all present 
are sinners who died violent deaths, as they repented at 
the last minute they are not whoUy excluded from hope 
of bliss. Unable to recognize any of these, Dante never- 
theless listens to their descriptions of their violent ends, 
and promises to enlighten their friends and kinsmen in 
regard to their fate. 

Ccmto VI. Because Virgil moves on, Dante feels con- 
strained to follow, although the spirits continue to pluck 
at his mantle, imploring him to hear what they have to 
say. Touched by the sorrows of men of his own time or 


famous in history, Dante wistfully asks his guide whether 
prayers can ever change Heaven's decrees, and learns 
that true love can work miracles, as he will perceive when 
he beholds Beatrice. The hope of meeting his beloved face 
to face causes Dante to urge his guide to greater speed 
and almost gives wings to his feet. Presently Virgil directs 
his companion's attention to a spirit standing apart, in 
whom Dante recognizes the poet Sordello, who mourns 
because Mantua — ^his native city as well as Virgil's — drifts 
in these political upheavals like a pilotless vessel in the 
midst of a storm. 

Canto VII. Virgil now informs Sordello that he, Virgil, 
is debarred from all hope of heaven through lack of faith. 
Thereupon Sordello reverently approaches him, calling him 
"Glory of Latium," and inquiring whence he comes. Virgil 
explains how, led by heavenly influence, he left the dim 
limbo of ante-heU, passed through all the stages of the 
Inferno, and is now seeking the place "Where Purgatory 
its true beginning takes." Sordello rejoins that, while he 
will gladly serve as guide, the day is already so far gone 
that they had better spend the night in a neighboring dell. 
He then leads Virgil and Dante to a hollow, where, rest- 
ing upon fragrant flowers, they prepare to spend the night, 
with a company of spirits who chant "Salve Regina." 
Among these the new-comers recognize with surprise sundry 
renowned monarchs, whose doings are briefly described. 

Canto VIII. Meantime the hour of rest has come, the 
hour described by the poet as — 

Now was the hour that wakens fond desire 
In men at sea., and melts their thoughtful heart 
Who in the morn have bid sweet friends farewell, 
And pilgrim newly on his road with love 
Thrills, if he hear the vesper bell from far 
That seems to mourn for the expiring day. 

Dante and Virgil then witness the evening devotions of 
these spirits, which conclude with a hymn so soft, so 
devout, that their senses are lost in ravishment. When it 
has ended, the spirits all gaze expectantly upward, and 


soon behold two green-clad angels, with flaming swords, 
who alight on eminences at either end of the glade. These 
heavenly warriors are sent by Mary to mount guard dur- 
ing the hours of darkness so as to prevent the serpent from 
gliding unseen into their miniature Eden. Still led by 
Sordello, the poets withdraw to a leafy recess, where Dante 
discovers a friend whom he had cause to believe detained 
in hell. This spirit explains he is not indeed languish- 
ing there simply because of the prayers of his daughter 
Giovanna, who has not forgotten him although his wife has 
married again. 

Dante is just gazing with admiration at three stars 
(symbols of Faith, Hope, and Charity), when Sordello 
suddenly points out the serpent, who is no sooner descried 
by the angels than they swoop down and put him to flight. 

" I saw not, nor can tell, 
How those celestial falcons from their seat 
Moved, but in motion each one well descried. 
Hearing the air cut by their verdant plumes. 
The serpent fled; and, to their stations, back 
The angels up retum'd with equal flight." 

Canto IX. Dante falls asleep in this valley, but, just as 
the first gleams of Hght appear, he is favored by a vision, 
wherein — like Ganymede — ^he is borne by a golden-feathered 
eagle into a glowing fire where both are consumed. Waken- 
ing with a start from this disquieting dream, Dante finds 
himself in a different spot, with no companion save Virgil, 
and notes the sun is at least two hours high. 

Virgil now assures him that, thanks to Santa Lucia 
(type of God's grace), he has in sleep been conveyed to 
the very entrance of Purgatory. Gazing at the high cliffs 
which encircle the mountain, Dante now perceives a deep 
cleft, through which he and Virgil arrive at a vast 
portal (the gate of penitence), to which three huge steps 
of varying color and size afford access. At the top of 
these steps, on a diamond threshold, sits the Angel of Abso- 
lution with his flashing sword. Challenged by this warder, 
Virgil explains that they have been guided hither by Santa 


Lucia, at whose name the angel bids them draw near. Up 
a polished step of white marble -(which typifies sincerity), 
a dark step of cracked stone (symbol of contrition), and 
one of red porphyry (emblem of self-sacrifice), Dante 
arrives at the angel's feet and humbly begs him to unbar 
the door. In reply the angel inscribes upon the poet's brow, 
by means of his sword, seven P's, to represent the seven 
deadly sins (in Italian peccata), of which mortals must be 
purged ere they can enter Paradise. 

After bidding Dante have these signs properly effaced, 
the angel draws from beneath his ash-hued mantle the 
golden key of authority and the silver key of discernment, 
stating that when St. Peter entrusted them to his keeping 
he bade him err "rather in opening than in keeping fast." 
Then, the gate open, the angel bids them enter, adding 
the solemn warning "he forth again departs who looks 

Canto X. Mindful of this caution, Dante does not turn, 
although the gates close with a clash behind him, but fol- 
lows his guide along a steep pathway. It is only after 
painful exertions they reach the first terrace of Purgatory, 
or place where the sin of pride is punished. They now 
pass along a white marble cornice, — some eighteen feet 
wide, — ^whose walls are decorated with sculptures which 
would not have shamed the best masters of Greek art. 
Here are represented such subjects as the Annunciation, 
David dancing before the Ark, and Trajan granting the 
petition of the unfortunate widow. Proceeding along this 
path, they soon see a procession of spirits approaching, all 
bent almost double beneath huge burdens. As they creep 
along, one or another gasps from time to time, ' ' I can endure 
no more." 

Canto XI. The oppressed spirits fervently pray for 
aid and forgiveness, while continuing their weary tramp 
"around this cornice, where they do penance for undue 
pride. Praying they may soon be delivered, Virgil inqtures 
of them where he can find means to ascend to the next circle, 
and is told to accompany the procession which will soon 


pass the place. The speaker, although unable to raise his 
head, confesses his arrogance while on earth so incensed 
his feUow-creatures that they finally rose up against him 
and murdered him. Stooping so as to catch a glimpse of 
the bent face, Dante realizes he is talking to a miniature 
painter who claimed to be without equal, and therefore has 
to do penance. 

The noise 
Of worldly fame is but a blast of wind. 
That blows from diverse points, and shifts its name. 
Shifting the point it blows from. 

Canto XII. Journeying beside the bowed painter (who 
names some of his fellow-sufferers), Dante's attention is 
directed by Virgil to the pavement beneath his feet, where 
he sees carved Briareus, Nimrod, Niobe, Arachne, Saul, etc., 
— ^in short, all those who dared measure themselves with 
the gods or who cherished overweening opinions of their 
attainments. So absorbed is Dante in contemplation of 
these subjects that he starts when told an angel is coming 
to meet them, who, if entreated with sufficient humility, 
will doubtless help them reach the next level. 

The radiant-faced angel, robed in dazzling white, in- 
stead of waiting to be implored to help the travellers, 
graciously points out steps where the rocks are sundered 
by a cleft, and, when Dante obediently climbs past him, a 
soft touch from his wings brushes away the P. which stands 
for pride, and thus frees our poet of all trace of this heinous 
sin. But it is only on reaching the top of the stairway 
that Dante becomes aware of this fact. 

Canto XIII. The second ledge of purgatory, which they 
have now reached, is faced with plain gray stone, and 
Virgil leads his companion a full mile along it ere they 
become aware of a flight of invisible spirits, some of whom 
chant "They have no wine!" while the others respond 
"Love ye those who have wrong 'd you." These are those 
who, having sinned through envy, can be freed only by 
the exercise of charity. Then, bidding Dante gaze fixedly, 


Virgil points out this shadowy host, clothed in sackcloth, 
sitting back against the rocks, and Dante takes particular 
note of two figures supporting each other. He next dis- 
covers that one and all of these victims have their eyeUds 
sewn so tightly together with wire that passage is left only 
for streams of penitential tears. 

When allowed to address them, Dante, hoping to com- 
fort them, offers to bear back to earth any message they wish 
to send. It is then that one of these spirits informs Dante 
that on earth she was Sapia, a learned Siennese, who, hav- 
ing rejoiced when her country was defeated, is obliged to 
do penance for heartlessness. Marvelliug that any one 
should wander among them with eyes unclosed, she in- 
quires by what means Dante has come here, bespeaks his 
prayers, and implores him to warn her countrymen not to 
cherish vain hopes of greatness or to sin through envy. 

Canto XIY. The two spirits leaning close together, in 
their turn question who Virgil and Dante may be? When 
they hear mention of Rome and Florence, they hotly in- 
veigh against the degeneracy of dwellers on the banks of 
the Tiber and Arno. 

Shortly after leaving this place with his guide, Dante 
hears the wail: "Whosoever finds will slay me," a cry 
followed by a deafening crash. 

Canto XV. Circling round the mountain, always in 
the same direction, Dante notes the sun is about to set, 
when another dazzling angel invites them up to the next 
level, — ^where anger is punished, — ^by means of a stairway 
less steep than any of the preceding. As they climb, the 
angel softly chants "Blessed the merciful" and "Happy 
thou that conquer 'st," while he brushes aside the second 
P., and thus cleanses Dante from envy. But, when Dante 
craves an explanation of what he has heard and seen, Virgil 
assures him that only when the five remaining "sears" 
have vanished from his brow, Beatrice herself can satisfy 
his curiosity. 

On reaching the third level, they find themselves en- 
veloped in a dense fog, through which Dante dimly beholds 


the twelve-year-old Christ in the Temple and overhears his 
mother chiding him. Next he sees a woman weeping, and 
lastly Stephen stoned to death. 

Canto XVI. Urged by his guide to hasten through this 
bitter blinding fog — a symbol of anger which is punished 
here — Dante stumbles along, mindful of Virgil's caution, 
"Look that from me thou part not." Meanwhile voices 
on all sides invoke "the Lamb of God that taketh away 
the sins of the world." Then, all at once, a voice addresses 
Dante, who, prompted by Virgil, inquires where the next 
stairway may be? His interlocutor, after bespeaking 
Dante's prayers, holds forth against Rome, which, boasting 
of two suns, — the pope and the emperor, — ^has seen the one 
quench the other. But the arrival of an angel, sent to 
guide our travellers to the next level, soon ends this con- 

Canto XVII. Out of the vapors of anger — as dense 
as any Alpine fog — Dante, who has caught glimpses of 
famous victims of anger, such as Haman and Lavinia, 
emerges with Virgil, only to be dazzled by the glorious 
light of the sun. Then, climbing the ladder the angel 
points out, Dante feels him brush away the third obnoxious 
P., while chanting, "Blessed are the peacemakers." They 
now reach the fourth ledge, where the sin of indifference 
or sloth is punished, and, as they trudge along it, Virgil 
explains that all indifference is due to a lack of love, a 
virtue on which he eloquently discourses. 

Canto XVIII. A multitude of spirits now interrupt 
Virgil, and, when he questions them, two, who lead the 
rest, volubly quote examples of fervent affection and zealous 
haste. They are closely followed by other spirits, the 
backsliders, who, not having had the strength or patience to 
endure, preferred inglorious ease to adventurous life and 
are now consumed with regret. 

Canto XIX. In the midst of a trance which overtakes 
him, Dante next has a vision of the Siren which beguiled 
Ulysses and of Philosophy or Truth. Then, morning hav- 
ing dawned, Virgil leads him to the next stairway, up which 


an angel wafts them, chanting "Blessed are they that 
mourn, for they shall be comforted," while he brushes 
away another sin scar from our poet's forehead. 

In this fifth circle those guilty of avarice under^ 
punishment by being chained fast to the earth to which they 
clung, and which they bedew with penitent tears. One of 
these, questioned by Dante, reveals he was Pope Adrian V., 
who, dying a month after his elevation to the papal chair, 
repented in time of his grasping past. When Dante kneels 
compassionately beside this august sufferer, he is implored 
to warn the pope's kinswoman to eschew the besetting sin 
of their house. 

Canto XX. A little further on, among the grovelling 
figures which closely pave this fifth cornice, Dante beholds 
Hugues Capet, founder of the third dynasty of French 
kings, and stigmatized as " root of that ill plant," because 
this poem was composed only a few years after Philip IV 's 
criminal attempt against Pope Boniface at Agnani. The 
poets also recognize there Pygmalion (brother of Dido), 
Midas, Achan, Heliodorus, and Crassus,^ ere they are 
startled by feeling the whole mountain tremble beneath 
them and by hearing the spirits exultantly cry "Glory to 

Canio XXI. Clinging to Virgil in speechless terror, 
Dante hears his guide assure the spirit which suddenly 
appears before them that the Pates have not yet finished 
spinning the thread of his companion's life. When ques- 
tioned by the travellers in regard to the noise and earth- 
quake, this spirit informs them that the mountain quivers 
with joy whenever a sinner is released, and that, after 
undergoing a punishment of five hundred years, he — Statiua 
— ^is now free to go in quest of his master Virgil, whom he 
has. always longed to meet. Dante's smile at these words, 
together with his meaning glance at Virgil, suddenly re- 
veal to the spirit that his dearest wish is granted, and 

' See the author's " Story of the Chosen People," and " Story 
of the Komans." 


Statius reverently does obeisance to the poet from whose 
fount he drew his inspiration. 

Canto XXII. The three bards are next led by an 
angel up another staircase, to the sixth cornice (Dante 
losing another P. on the way), where the sios of gluttony 
and drunkenness are punished. As they circle around this 
ledge, Dante questions how Statius became guilty of the 
sin of covetousness, for which he was doomed to tramp 
around the fifth circle? In reply Statius rejoins that it 
was not because of covetousness, but of its counterpart, 
over-lavishness, that he suffered so long, and principally 
because he was not brave enough to own himself a Christian. 
Then he inquires of Virgil what have become of their fel- 
low-countrymen Terence, Caecilius, Plautus, and Varro, 
only to learn that they too linger in the dark regions of 
ante-hell, where they hold sweet converse with other pagan 

Reverently listening to the conversation of his compan- 
ions, Dante drinks in "mysterious lessons of sweet poesy" 
and silently follows them until they draw near a tree laden 
with fruit and growing beside a crystal stream. Issuing 
from this tree a voice warns them against the sin of glut- 
tony — ^which is punished in this circle — and quotes ^sueh 
marked examples of abstinence as Daniel feeding on pulse 
and John the Baptist living on locusts and wild honey. 

Canto XXIII. Dante is still dumbly staring at the 
mysterious tree when Virgil bids him follow, for they still 
have far to go. They next meet weeping, hollow-eyed 
spirits, so emaciated that their bones start through their 
skin. One of these reec^nizes Dante, who is aghast that 
his friend Forese should be in such a state and escorted by 
two skeleton spirits. Porese replies that he and his com- 
panions are consumed by endless hunger and thirst, 
although they eat and drink without ever being satisfied. 
When Dante expresses surprise because a man only five 
years dead should already be so high up the mount of 
Purgatory, Forese explains that his wife's constant prayers 
have successively freed him from detention in the other 


circles. In return Dante states why he is here and names 
his companions. 

Canto XXIV. Escorting the three travellers on their 
way, Forese inquires what has become of his sister, Pic- 
earda, ere he points out sundry spirits, with whom Dante 
converses, and who predict the coming downfall of his 
political foes. But these spirits suddenly leave Dante to 
dart toward trees, which tantalizingly withold their fruit 
from their eager hands, while hidden voices loudly extol 

Canto XXV. In single file the three poets continue 
their tramp, commenting on what they have seen, and 
Statius expounds his theories of life. Then they ascend 
to the seventh ledge, where glowing fires purge mortals of 
all sensuality. Even as they toil toward this level, an 
angel" voice extols chastity, and Dante once more feels the 
light touch which he now associates with the removal of 
one of the scars made by the angel at the entrance of 
Purgatory. Arrived above, the poets have to tread a nar- 
row path between the roaring fires and the abyss. So 
narrow is the way, that Virgil bids Dante beware or he 
win be lost! 

" Behoved us, one by one, along the side, 
That border'd on the void, to pass; and I 
Fear'd on one hand the fire, on the other fear'd 
Headlong to fall: when thus the instructor warn'd; 
' Strict rein must in this place direct the eyes. 
A little swerving and the way is lost.' " 

As all three warily proceed, Dante hears voices in the 
fiery furnace alternately imploring the mercy of God and 
quoting examples of chastity, such as Mary and Diana, and 
couples who proved chaste though married. 

Canto XXVI. As the poets move along the rim, Dante 's 
shadow, cast upon the roaring flames, causes such wonder 
to the victims undergoing purification that one of them in- 
quires who he may be. Just as Dante is about to answer, 
his attention is attracted by hosts of shadows, who, after 
exchanging hasty kisses, dash on, mentioning such famous 


examples of dissoluteness as Pasiphae, and the men who 
caused the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. Turning 
to his interlocutor, Dante then explains how he came hither 
and expresses a hope he may soon be received in bliss. The 
grateful spirit then gives his name, admits he sang too 
freely of carnal love, and adds that Dante would surely 
recognize many of his- fellow-sufferers were he to point 
them out. Then, bespeaking Dante's prayers, he plunges 
back into the fiery element which is to make him fit for 

Canto XXYII. Just as the sun is about to set, an angel 
approaches them, chanting "Blessed are the pure in heart," 
and bids them fearlessly pass through the wall of fire which 
alone stands between them and Paradise. Seeing Dante 
hang back timorously, Virgil reminds him he will find 
Beatrice on the other side, whereupon our poet plunges 
recklessly into the glowing furnace, where both his com- 
panions precede him, and whence all three issue on an up- 
ward path. There they make their couch on separate steps, 
and Dante gazes up at the stars until he falls asleep and 
dreams of a lovely lady, culling flowers in a meadow, sing- 
ing she is Lea (the mediaeval type of active life), and 
stating that her sister Rachel (the emblem of contemplative 
life) spends the day gazing at herself in a mirror. 

At dawn the pilgrims awake, and Virgil assures Daaate 
before this day ends his hunger for a sight of Beatrice will 
be appeased. This prospect so lightens Dante's heart that 
he almost soars to the top of the stairway. There Virgil, 
who has led "him throngh temporal and eternal fires, bids 
bim follow his pleasure, until he meets the fair lady who 
bade him undertake this journey. 

" Till those bright eyes 
With gladness come, whiob, weeping, made me haite 
To succor thee, thou mayst or seat thee dowp, 
Or wander where thou wilt. Expect no more 
SazLction of warning voice or sign from me, 
Free of thine own arbitrament to choose. 
Discreet, judicious. To distrust thy sense 
Were henceforth error. I invest thee then 
With crown and mitre, sovereign o'er thyself." 


Canto XXVIII. Through the Garden of Eden Elante 
now strolls with Statins and Virgil, until he beholds, on 
the other side of a pellucid stream (whose waters have the 
"power to take away remembrance of offence")) a beautiful 
lady (the countess Matilda), who smiles upon him. Then 
she informs Dante she has come to "answer every doubt" 
he cherishes, and, as they wander along on opposite sides 
of the stream, she expounds for his benefit the creation of 
man, the fall and its consequences, and informs him how 
all the plants that grow on earth originate here. The water 
at his feet issues from an unquenchable fountain, and 
divides into two streams, the first of which, Lethe, "chases 
from the mind the memory of sin," while the waters of 
the second, Eunoe, have the power to recall "good deeds 
to one's mind." 

Canto XXIX. Suddenly the lady bids Dante pause, 
look, and hearken. Then he sees a great light on the op- 
posite shore, hears a wonderful music, and soon beholds a 
procession of spirits, so bright that they leave behind them 
a trail of rainbow-colored light. First among them march 
the four and twenty elders of the Book of Eevelations; 
they are followed by four beasts (the Evangelists), and a 
,gryphon, drawing a chariot (the Christian Church or 
Papal chair), far grander than any that ever graced im- 
perial triumph at Rome. Personifications of the three 
evangelical virtues (Charity, Faith, and Hope) and of the 
four moral virtues (Prudence, etc.), together with St. Luke 
and St. Paul, the four great Doctors of the Church, and 
the apostle St. John, serve as body-guard for this chariot, 
which comes to a stop opposite Dante with a noise like 

Canto XXX. The wonderful light, our poet now per- 
ceives, emanates from a seven-branched candlestick, and 
illuminates all the heavens like an aurora borealis. Then, 
amid the chanting, and while angels shower flowers down 
upon her, he beholds in the chariot a lady veiled in white, 
in whom, although transfigured, he instinctively recognizes 
Beatrice (a personification of Heavenly Wisdom). In his 


surprise Dante impulsively turns toward Virgil, only to dis- 
cover that he has vanished! 

Beatrice comforts him, however, by promising to be his 
guide hereafter, and gently reproaches him for the past 
until he casts shamefaced glances at his feet. There, in 
the stream (which serves as nature's mirror), he catches 
a reflection of his utter loathsomeness, and becomes so 
penitent, that Beatrice explains she purposely brought him 
hither by the awful road he has travelled to induce him to 
lead a changed life hereafter. 

Canto XXXI. Beatrice then accuses him of yielding 
to the world's deceitful pleasures after she left him, and 
explains how he should, on the contrary, have striven to 
be virtuous so as to rejoin her. When she finally forgives 
him and bids him gaze into her face once more, he sees she 
surpasses her former self in loveliness as greatly as on 
earth she outshone all other women. Dante is so overcome 
by a sense of his utter unworthiness that he falls down 
unconscious, and on recovering his senses finds himself in 
the stream, upheld by the hand of a njrmph (Matilda) , who 
sweeps him along, "swift as a shuttle bounding o'er the 
wave," while angels chant "Thou shalt wash me" and "I 
shall be whiter than snow." 

Freed from all haunting memories of past sins by Lethe 's 
waters, Dante finally lands on the " blessed shore." There 
Beatrice's haud-maidens welcome him, and beseech her to 
complete her work by revealing her inner beauty to this 
mortal, so he can portray it for mankind. But, although 
Dante gazes at her in breathless admiration, words fail him 
to render what he sees. 

"O splendor! 
O saered light eternal! who is he. 
So pale with musing in Pierian shades. 
Or with that fount so lavishly imbued. 
Whose spirit should not fail him in the essay 
To represent thee such as thou didst seem. 
When under cope of the still-chiming heaven 
Thou gavest to open air thy charms reveal'd?" 


Canto XXXII. Dante is still quenching a "ten-years 
thirst" by staring at his beloved, when her attendants ad- 
monish him to desist. But, although he obediently turns 
aside his eyes, like a man who has gazed too long at the 
sun, he sees her image stamped on all he looks at. He and 
Statins now hiunbly follow the glorious procession, which 
enters a forest and circles gravely round a barren tree- 
trunk, to which the chariot is tethered. Immediately the 
dry branches burst into bud and leaf, and, soothed by 
angelic music, Dante falls asleep, only to be favored by a 
vision so startling, that on awakening he eagerly looks 
around for Beatrice. The nymph who bore bim safely 
through the waters then points her out, resting beneath 
the mystic tree, and Beatrice, rousing too, bids Dante note 
the fate of her chariot. The poet then sees an eagle (the 
Empire), swoop down from heaven, tear the tree asunder, 
and attack the Chariot (the Church), into which a fox 
(heresy) has sprung as if in quest of prey. Although the 
fox is soon routed by Beatrice, the eagle makes its nest in 
the chariot, beneath which arises a seven-headed monster 
(the seven capital sins), bearing on its back a giant, who 
alternately caresses and chastises a whore. 
. Canto XXXIII. The seven Virtues having chanted a 
hymn, Beatrice motions to Statius and Dante to follow her, 
asking the latter why he is so mute? Rejoining she best 
knows what he needs, Dante receives from her lips an ex- 
planation of what he has just seen, which he is bidden reveal 
to mankind. Conversing thus, they reach the second stream, 
of whose waters Beatrice bids her friend drink, and after 
that renovating draught Dante realizes he has now been 
made pure and "apt for mounting to the stars." 


Introduction. The Paradise of Dante consists of nine 
crystalline spheres of different sizes, the Moon, Mercury, 
Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, the Fixed Stars, and 
the Empyrean, enclosed one within the other, and revolved 


by the Angels, Archangels, Princedoms, Powers, Virtues, 
Dominations, Thrones, Cherubim, and Seraphim. Beyond 
these orbs, whose whirling motions cause "the music of 
the spheres," lies a tenth circle, the real heaven (a Rose), 
where "peace divine inhabits," and of which the Divine 
Essence or Trinity forms the very core. 

Canto I. Paradise opens with Dante's statement that 
in heaven he was "witness of things, which to relate again, 
surpasseth the power of him who comes from thence." He 
therefore invokes the help of Apollo to describe that part 
of the universe upon which is lavished the greatest share 
of light. Then, while gazing up into Beatrice's eyes, Dante, 
freed from earth's trammels, suddenly feels himself soar 
upward, and is transferred with indescribable swiftness into 
a totally different medium. 

Canto II. Perceiving his bewilderment, Beatrice reas- 
sures him in a motherly strain, and, gazing around him, 
Dante realizes they have entered the translucent circle of 
the moon (revolved by angels) . After warning his fellow- 
men " the way I pass ne'er yet was run," Dante goes on to 
relate what Beatrice teaches him in regard to the heavenly 
spheres and spiritual evolution, and how she promises to 
reveal to him "the truth thou lovest." 

Canto III. In the pearl-hued atmosphere of the moon, 
Dante beholds, "as through a glass, darkly," shadowy, 
nun-like forms, and is told by Beatrice to communicate with 
them. Addressing the form nearest him, Dante learns she 
is Piccarda (sister of Forese), who was kidnapped by her 
husband after she had taken the veil. Although she would 
fain have kept her religious vows, Piccarda proved a faith- 
ful wife, and declares she and her fellow-spirits are content 
to remain in their appointed sphere until called higher by 
the Almighty. 

"She with those other spirits gently smiled; 
Then answei^d with such gladness, that she aeem'd 
With love's first flame to glow: 'Brother! our will 
Is, in composure, settled hy the power 
Of charity, who makes us will alone 
What we possess, and nought heyond desire,' " 



All her companions also wished to be brides of Christ, but 
patiently did their duty, and, knowing that "in His will 
is our tranquillity," they now spend all their time singing 
"Ave Maria." When these nun-like forms vanish, Dante 
gazes at Beatrice in hopes of learning more. 

Canto IV. In reply to Dante's inquiring glance, 
Beatrice explains that those compelled to sin against their 
desire are ever held blameless in Heaven. Then, stating: 

" Not seldom, brother, it hath chanced for men 
To do what they had gladly left undone; " 

she adds that "the will that wiUs not, still survives un- 
quenched," and that by will power only St. Lawrence and 
Mucins Seevola were enabled to brave fire. Then she makes 
him see how truth alone can satisfy a mind athirst for 

Canto V. Beatrice asserts that the most precious gift 
bestowed upon mankind was freedom of will, and that 
"knowledge comes of learning well retain 'd." She con- 
cludes that when man makes a vow he offers his will in 
sacrifice to God, and that for that reason no vow should be 
thoughtlessly made, but all should be rigidly kept. Still, 
she admits it is better to break a promise than, like Jephthah 
and Agamemnon, to subscribe to a heinous crime, and states 
that either Testament can serve as guide for Jews or 
Christians. Again drawing Dante upward by the very 
intensity of her gaze, she conveys him to the second circle, 
the heaven of Mercury (revolved by Archangels). Here, 
in an atmosphere as pellucid as water, Dante perceives 
thousands of angels, coming toward him, singing "Lo! one 
arrived to multiply our loves ! ' ' These spirits assure Dante 
he was born in a happy hour, since he is allowed, ere the 
"close of fleshly warfare," to view the glories of heaven, — 
and express a desire to share their lights with him. So 
Dante questions the spirit nearest him, which immediately 
glows with loving eagerness to serve him, until it becomes 
a dazzling point of light. 

Canto VI. This spirit announces he is Justinian, chosen 


to clear "from vain excess the encumbered laws," five 
hundred years after the Christian era began, and that it 
was in order to devote all his time to this task that he con- 
signed the military power to Belisarius. He proceeds to 
give Dante a resume of Roman history, from the kidnapping 
of the Sabines to his own day, laying stress on the triumphs 
won by great generals. He also specially mentions the 
hour "When Heaven was minded that o'er all the world his 
own deep cahn should brood," the troublous days of the 
empire, and the feud of the Guelfs and GhibelUnes, the 
two principal political factions of Dante's time. Next he 
explains that Mercury is inhabited by "good spirits whose 
mortal lives were busied to that end that honor and renown 
might wait on them," and quotes in particular Raymond 
Berenger, whose four daughters became queens. 

Canto VII. After this speech Justinian vanishes with 
his angelic companions, and Dante, duly encouraged, in- 
quires of Beatrice how "just revenge could be with justice 
punished?" She informs him that, as in Adam all die 
through the power of sin, all can by faith live again 
through Christ, thanks to God's goodness. 

Canto VIII. Although unaware of the fact, Dante, 
whose eyes have been fixed on Beatrice, has during her 
exposition been wafted up to the third heaven, that of 
Venus (revolved by Princedoms). In the planet of love 
— ^where Beatrice glows with increased beauty — are in- 
numerable souls "imperfect through excess of love," which 
are grouped in constantly revolving circles. All at once 
one of these luminous spirits approaches Dante, and, after 
expressing great readiness to serve him, introduces him- 
self as Charles Martel, King of Hungary, brother of 
Robert of Naples. Thirsting for information, Dante in- 
quires of him "how bitter can spring when sweet is sown?" 
In a lengthy disquisition in reply, this spirit mentions 
how children often differ from their parents, quotes Esau 
and Jacob as marked examples thereof, and adds that 
nature, guided by Providence, produces' at wiU a Solon, 
Xerxes, Melchisedec, or Daedalus. 


Ccmto IX. The next spirit with whom Beatrice con- 
verses is the fair Cunizza, who like the Magdalen "loved 
much," and therefor obtained pardon for her sins. Before 
vanishing, she foretells coming political events, and in- 
troduces the Provengal bard Folco, whose poems on love 
were to be republished after five hundred years of oblivion. 
After relating his life, this poet informs Dante the harlot 
Rahab was admitted to this heaven in reward for saving 
Joshua's spies. This spirit concludes his interview by 
censuring the present papal policy, declaring it far too 
worldly, avaricious, and time-serving to find favor in 

Ganio X. Drawn upward this time by the attraction of 
the sun, Dante finds himself in a dazzling sphere (revolved 
by Powers), where he and Beatrice behold consecutive mov- 
ing wreaths, each composed of twelve blessed spirits who 
while on earth were noted as teachers of divinity and 
philosophy. One of these singing, revolving wreaths en- 
compasses our travellers, until one of its members, St. 
Thomas Aquinas, ceases his ineffable song long enough to 
present his companions and explain their titles to immortal 

Canto XI. St. Thomas Aquinas, in his conversation 
with Dante, relates the life of St. Francis of Assisi, dwell- 
ing particularly upon his noble character, and describiag 
how, after becoming wedded to Poverty, he founded the 
order of the Franciscans, received the stigmata, and died 
in odor of sanctity, leaving worthy disciples and emulators, 
such as St. DoTninio, to continue and further the good work 
he had begun. He adds that many of the saint's followers 
are represented in the innumerable glowing wreaths which 
people the heaven of the Sun. 

Canto Xll. Still encompassed by one rainbow circle 
after another, Dante is told by St. Buonaventura of Dom- 
inic's inestimable services to mankind, and hears about his 
fervent zeal and deep faith. 

Canto XIII. While Dante and Beatrice gaze with awe 
and admiration upon the circles of light which revolve 


through all the signs of the zodiac, St. Thomas Aquinas 
solves sundry of Dante 's doubts, and cautions him never to 
accede to any proposition without having duly weighed it. 

" Let not the people be too swift to judge; 
As one who reckons on the blades in field. 
Or e'er the crop be ripe. For I have seen 
The thorn frown rudely all the winter long. 
And after bear the rose upon its top; 
And bark, that all her way across the sea 
Ean straight and speedy, perish at the last 
E'en in the haven's mouth." 

Canto XIV. Proceeding from circle to circle, Dante 
and Beatrice reach the innermost ring, where the latter 
bids Solomon solve Dante's doubts by describing the ap- 
pearance of the blest after the resurrection of the body. 
In words almost as eloquent as those wherewith St. Gabriel 
transmitted his message to Mary, Solomon complies. 

" Long as the joy of Paradise shall last, 
Our love shall shine around that raiment, bright 
As fervent; fervent as, in vision, blest; 
And that as far, in blessedness, exceeding. 
As it hath grace, beyond its virtue, great. 
Our shape, regarmented with glorious weeds 
Of saintly flesh, must, being thus entire, 
Show yet more gracious, 'nierefore shall increase 
Whate'er, of light, gratuitous imparts 
The Supreme Good; light, ministering aid. 
The better to disclose his glory: whence. 
The vision needs increasing, must increase 
The fervor, which it kindles; and that too 
The ray, that comes from it." 

As he concludes his explanation, a chorus of spiritual 
voices chant "Amen," and Solomon, directing Dante's 
glance upward, shows him how the bright spirits of this 
sphere group themselves in the form of a cross, — glowing 
with light and pulsing with music, — ^whereon "Christ 
beamed," a sight none ean hope to see save those who "talje 
up their cross and follow him." 

Cantos XV, XVI. In the midst of the rapture caused 
by these sights and sounds, Dante is amazed to recognize. 


in one of the angels which continually shift places in the 
glowing cross, his ancestor Cacciaguida, who assures him 
Florence proved happy as long as its inhabitants led simple - 
and virtuous lives, but rapidly degenerated and became 
corrupt when covetousness, luxury, and pleasure took up 
their abode within its walls. 

Canto XVII. Encouraged by Beatrice, who stands at a 
short distance to leave him more freedom, Dante begs his 
great ancestor to reveal what is about to befall him, so that, 
forewarned, he may most wisely meet his fate. In reply 
Cacciaguida teUs him he will be exiled from Florence, and 
compelled to associate with people who will turn against 
him, only to rue this fact with shame later on. He adds 
Dante will learn how bitter is the savor of other's bread 
and how hard to climb another's stairs. 

" Thou shalt leave each thing 
Beloved most dearly: this is the first shaft 
Shot from the bow of exile. Thou shalt prove 
How salt the savor is of other's bread; 
How hard the passage, to descend and climb 
By other's stairs." 

Then Cacciaguida goes on to state that Dante shall finally 
find refuge in Lombardy, with Can Grande, and while there 
will compose the poems depicting his memorable journey 
down through sin to the lowest pit and upward through 
repentance to the realm of bliss. 

" For this, there only have been shown to thee, 
Throughout these orbs, the mountain, and the deep. 
Spirit, whom fame hath note of. For the mind 
Of him, who hears, is loath to acquiesce 
And fix its faith, unless the instance brought 
Be palpable, and proof apparent urge." 

Seeing Dante's dismay at this prediction, Beatrice com- 
forts him by a smile, and, seeing he is again wrapped in 
contemplation of her, warns him that "these eyes are not 
thy only Paradise." 

Canto XV III. Then Beatrice leads her charge into 
the fifth heaven, that of Mars, revolved by Virtues and in- 


habited by transfigured martyrs, confessors, and holy war- 
riors, such as Joshua, the Maccabees, Charlemagne, Orlando, 
Godfrey of Bouillon, and other men of note. These worthies 
form a part of the mystic cross, and each glows with 
transcendent light as Beatrice points them out one after 
another. Then Beatrice wafts her charge into the sixth 
heaven, that of Jupiter (revolved by Dominations). Here 
the spirits of rulers famous for justice, moving with kaleido- 
scopic tints and rapidity, alternately form mystic letters 
spelling ' ' Love righteousness ye that be judges of the earth, ' ' 
or settle silently into the shape of a gigantic eagle. This 
sight proves so impressive that Dante sinks to his knees, 
fervently praying justice may indeed reign on earth as in 

Canto XIX. To his intense surprise Dante now hears 
the mystic eagle proclaim in trumpet tones that justice and 
pity shall be exacted, and that no man shall be saved with- 
out them. He adds that eternal judgment is incompre- 
hensible to mortal ken, that mere professions are vain, and 
that many so-called Christian potentates (some of whom he 
names) will present a sorry figure on Judgment Day. 

Canto XX. After a period of silence, the same Eagle 
(an emblem of the Empire) proceeds to exalt certain rulers, 
especially those glorified spirits which form the pupil of 
his eye (David), and his eyelids (Trajan, Hezekiah, Con- 
stantine) . As he mentions their names they glow like price- 
less rubies, and he explains that, although some of them 
lived before Christ was made flesh, all have been redeemed 
because Faith, Hope, and Charity are their sponsors. 

"The three nymphs. 
Whom at the right wheel thou beheld'st advancing, 
Were sponsors for him, more than thousand years 
Before baptizing. O how far removed. 
Predestination! is thy root from such 
As see not the First Cause entire: and ye, 
O mortal men! be wary how ye judge: 
For we, who see our Maker, know not yet 
The number of the chosen; and esteem 
Such scantiness of knowledge our delight: 
For all our good is, in that primal good. 
Concentrate; and God's will and ours are one." 


Canto XXI. Meantime Beatrice, who has grown more 
and more beautiful as they rise, explains, when Dante again 
gazes upon her, that she no longer dares smile, lest he be 
consumed like Semele when she beheld Jove. The magnetic 
power of her glance suffices again, however, to transfer him 
to the seventh heaven, that of Saturn (revolved by Thrones) . 
This sphere is the abiding place of contemplative and ab- 
stinent hermits and monks. There our poet beholds a lad- 
der, up whose steps silently ascend those whose lives were 
spent in retirement and holy contemplation. Amazed by 
all he sees, and conscious he no longer hears the music of 
the spheres, Dante wonders until informed by one of the 
spirits, coming down the steps to meet him, that at this 
stage the heavenly music is too loud and intense for human 
ears. Seeing his interlocutor suddenly become a whirling 
wheel of light, Dante inquires what this may mean, only to 
be told spirits obscured on earth by fleshly garments shine 
brightly in heaven. The spirit then gives his name (St. 
Peter Damian), vividly describes the place where he built 
his hermitage, and declares many modem prelates have 
sinned so grievously through lechery or avarice that they 
are now detained in Inferno or Purgatory. As he speaks, 
spirit after spirit flits down the stairs, each bound on some 
errand of charity to the spheres below. 

Canto XXII. Startled by a loud cry, Dante is reassured 
by St. Damian 's statement that no harm can befall him in 
heaven. Next Beatrice directs his attention to some descend- 
ing spirits, the most radiant of which is St. Benedict, who 
explains how blissful spirits often leave the heavenly abode 
' ' to execute the counsel of the Highest. ' ' He adds that Dante 
has been selected to warn mortals, none of whom will ever 
be allowed to venture hither again. Then St. Benedict 
describes his life on earth and inveighs against the cor- 
ruption of the monks of Dante's time. 

His speech ended, St. Benedict vanishes, and Beatrice 
wafts Dante up the mystic stairs, through the constellation 
of the Gemini, to the eighth heaven, that of the Fixed Stars 
(revolved by the Cherubim). Declaring he is so near "the 


last salvation" that his eyes should be unclouded, Beatrice 
removes the last veil from his sight, and bids him gaze down 
at the spheres through which they have passed, and "see 
how vast a world thou hast already put beneath thy feet." 
Smiling at the smallness of the earth left behind him, Dante, 
undazzled by the mild light of the moon or the glow of the 
sun, gazes at the seven revolving spheres until all the 
scheme of creation is "made apparent to him." 

Canto XXIII. Beatrice, who is still standing beside 
him, finally tears him away from his contemplation of 
what is beneath him, and directs his glance aloft, where 
he catches his first glimpse of Christ, escorted by his Mother 
and by the Church triumphant. Too dazzled and awed at 
first to grasp what he sees, Dante feels heart and mind ex- 
pand, as he listens enraptured to sweeter music than was 
ever made by the nine muses. Meantime the spirits escort- 
ing Christ crown the Virgin with lilies, and all sing the 
praises of the Queen of Heaven.* 

Canto XXIV. Beatrice and Dante are now joined by 
the spirit of St. Peter, who examines Dante on faith, re- 
ceiving the famous reply: "Faith is the substance of the 
thing we hope for, and evidence of those that are not seen. " 
Not only does St. Peter approve Dante's definition, but he 
discusses theological questions with him, leading him mean- 
while further into this sphere. 

Canto XXY. Presently a spirit approaches them which 
is designated by Beatrice as St. James. After greettag St. 
Peter and smiling upon Beatrice, St. James reveals he has 
been sent hither by Christ to examine Dante upon hope, 
whereupon our poet, lifting his eyes "to the hills," gains 
courage enough to answer thus: "Hope is the certain ex- 
pectation of future glory, which is the effect of grace divine 
and merit precedent." St. James is so pleased with this 
answer that he glows even more brightly, as St. John, "who 
lay upon the breast of him, our Pelican," appeared, shining 
so brightly that Dante, turning to ask Beatrice who he is, 

*See the author's "Legends of the Virgin and Christ." 


discovers he can no longer see her although she is close 
beside him. 

" I turn'd, but ah ! how trembled in my thought. 
When, looking at my side again to see 
Beatrice, I descried her not; although. 
Not distant, on the happy coast she stood." 

Canto XXVI. Dante now ascertains he has merely been 
temporarily blinded by the excess of light which emanates 
from St. John, who proceeds to examine him in regard to 
Charity. His answers are greeted by the heavenly chorus 
with the chant "Holy, holy, holy," in which Beatrice joins, 
ere she clears the last mote away from Dante's eyes and 
thus enables him to see more plainly than ever. Our poet 
now perceives a fourth spirit, in whom he recognizes Adam, 
father of mankind, who retells the story of Eden, adding 
that, 4232 years after creation, Christ delivered him from 
hell, and enabled him to view the changes which had taken 
place in the fortunes of his descendants during that long 
space of time. 

Canto XXVII. After listening enraptured to the melody 
of the heavenly choir chanting ' ' Glory be to the Father, to 
the Son, and to the Holy Ghost," Dante gazes upon the 
four worthies near him, who glow and shine like torches, 
while ' ' silence reigns in heaven. ' ' Then St. Peter, changing 
color, holds forth against covetousness, and expounds 
the doctrine of apostolic succession. Because the early 
popes died as martyrs, he considers it a disgrace that their 
successors should be guilty of misgovemment. He adds 
that the keys bestowed upon him should never figure on 
banners used in waging unrighteous wars, and that his 
effigy on the papal seal should never appear on worldly 

Then Beatrice affords Dante a glimpse of the earth from 
the Straits of Gibraltar to the Bosphorus, and, when this 
vision ends, wafts him up into the ninth heaven, the Primum 
Mobile, or spot whence all motion starts, although itself 
remains immovable. 


Here is the goal, whence motion on his race 
Starts: motionless the centre, and the rest 
All moved around. 

Canto XXVIII. From this point Dante watches the 
universe spin around him, until "she who doth emparadise 
my soul" draws aside the veil of mortality, and allows him 
to perceive nine concentric spheres of multitudinous angels 
constantly revolving around a dazzling point while singing 
" Hosanna! " These are the heavenly host, the hierarchy 
of angels, Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominations, Vir- 
tues, Powers, Princedoms, Archangels, and Angels, in charge 
of the various circles which compose Dante's Paradise. 

Canto XXIX. Able to read Dante's thoughts, Beatrice 
explains some of the things he would fain know, and dis- 
perses his doubts, cautioning him, if he would be blessed, 
to rid himself of every atom of pride, since that caused 
even angels to fall ! 

Canto XXX. Once more Dante's eyes are fixed upon 
Beatrice, whose beauty far transcends his powers of de- 
scription, and is by her conveyed into the next circle, the 
Empyrean, or heaven of pure light, into which he is told 
to plunge as into a river. Eagerly quaffing its ethereal 
waters to satisfy his ardent thirst for knowledge, Dante 
beholds the court of Heaven, and descries its myriads of 
thrones, all occupied by redeemed spirits. These thrones 
are grouped around a brilliant centre (God) so as to form 
a dazzling jewelled rose. 

Canto XXXI. Robed ia snowy white, the redeemed — 
who form the petals of the Eternal Rose — are visited from 
time to time by ruby sparks, which are the angels hovering 
above them, who plunge like bees iato the heart of this 
flower, their glowing faces, golden wings, and white robes 
adding charms to the scene. After gazing for some time 
at this sight in speechless wonder, Dante, turning to ques- 
tion Beatrice, discovers she is no longer beside him! At 
the same time a being robed in glory near him bids him 
look up at the third row of thrones from the centre, and 


there behold her in her appointed seat. Eagerly glancing 
in the direction indicated, Dante perceives Beatrice, who, 
when he invokes her, smiles radiantly down upon him, ere 
she again turns her face to the eternal fountain of light. 

" So I my suit preferr'd; 
And she, so distant, as appear'd, look'd down, 
And smiled; then towards the eternal fountain tum'd." 

Meanwhile the spirit informs Dante he has been sent 
by Beatrice to help him end his journey safely, for he is 
St. Bernard, who so longed to behold the Virgin's coun- 
tenance that that boon was vouchsafed him. Knowing 
Dante would fain see her too, he bids him find, among the 
most brilliant lights in the Mystic Eose, the Virgin Mary, 
Queen of Heaven. 

Canto XXXII. Because the dazzled Dante cannot im- 
mediately locate her, St. Bernard points her out, with Eve, 
Eachel, Beatrice, Sarah, Judith, Rebecca, and Ruth sitting 
at her feet, and John the Baptist, St. Augustine, St. 
Francis, and St. Benedict standing close behind her. He 
also explains that those who believed in "Christ who was 
to come" are in one part of the rose, while those who 
"looked to Christ already come" are in another, but that 
all here are spirits duly assoiled, and adds that, although 
occupying different ranks, these spirits are perfectly satis- 
fied with the places awarded to them. Told now to look 
up at the face most closely resembling Christ's Dante dis- 
covers it is that of St. Gabriel, angel of the annunciation, 
and he descries further on St. Peter, Moses, and St. Anna, 
as well as Santa Lucia who induced Beatrice to send for 

Canto XXXIII. This done, St. Bernard fervently prays 
the Virgin, who not only ' ' gives succor to him who asketh 
it, but oftentimes f orerunneth of its own accord the asking, ' ' 
to allow Dante one glimpse of Divine Majesty. Seeing 
this prayer is graciously received, St. Bernard bids Dante 
look up. Thanks to his recently purified vision, our jwet 
has a glimpse of the Triune Divinity, — compounded of 


love, — ^which so transcends all hvunan expression that he 
declares "what he saw was not for words to speak." 

He concludes his grand poem, however, by assuring us 
that, although dazed by what he had seen, his 

" will roU'd onward, like a wheel 
In even motion, by the love impell'd. 
That moves the sun in heaven and all the stars." 


Roland, nephew of Charlemagne, hero of the Song of 
Boland and of an endless succession of metrical romances, 
was as popular a character in Italian literature as in the 
French. The Italians felt a proprietary interest in Charle- 
magne because he had been crowned emperor of the West 
in Rome in the year 800, and also because he had taken the 
part of the pope against the Lombards. Even the names of 
his twelve great peers were household words in Italy, so 
tales about Roland — ^who is known there as Orlando — ^were 
sure to find ready hearers. 

The adventures of Roland, therefore, naturally became 
the theme of Italian epics, some of which are of considerable 
length and of great importance, owing principally to their 
exquisite versification and diction. Pulci and Boiardo both 
undertook to depict Boland as a prey to the tender passion 
in epics entitled Orlando Innamorato, while Ariosto, the 
most accomplished and musical poet of the three, spent 
more than ten years of his life composing Orlando Furioso 
(1516), wherein he depicts this famous hero driven insane 
by his passion for an Oriental princess. 

Assuming that his auditors are familiar with the char- 
acters of Boiardo 's unfinished epic, Ariosto, picking up the 
thread of the narrative at the point where his predecessor 
dropped it, continues the story in the same vein. It there- 
fore becomes imperative to know the main trend of 
Boiardo 's epic. 

It opens with a lengthy description of a tournament 
3,t the court of Charlemagne, whither knights from aU 


parts of the globe hasten to distinguish themselves in the 
lists. Chief among these foreign guests are Argalio and 
Angelica, son and daughter of the king of Cathay, with 
their escort of four huge giants. The prince is, moreover, 
fortunate possessor of a magic lance, one touch of which 
suffices to unhorse any opponent, while the princess, by 
means of an enchanted ring, can detect and frustrate any 
spell, or become invisible by putting it in her mouth. On 
arriving at Charlemagne's court, Argalio stipulates that all 
the knights he defeats shall belong to his sister, whom in 
return he offers as prize to any knight able to' unhorse him. 

Such is the transcendent beauty of Angelica that 
Argalio is instantly challenged by Astolfo, who is defeated, 
and then by Ferrau, who, although defeated in the first 
onset, proves victor in the second, simply because he acci- 
dentally seizes the magic lance and directs it against its 
owner! Since the laws of the tournament award him the 
prize, Angelica, seeing she cannot otherwise escape, rides 
hastily away and conceals herself in the forest of Arden. 
She is, however, pursued thither by many knights who have 
been captivated by her beauty, among whom are Rinaldo 
(Renaud de Montauban) and Orlando, who were proposing 
to challenge her brother next. In the precincts of the forest 
where Angelica takes refuge are two magic fountains, one 
whose waters instantly transform love into hate, while the 
other induces any partaker to love the next person seen. 

Prowling around this forest, Rinaldo unsuspectingly 
quaffs the water which turns love to hate, so he immediately 
ceases his quest and falls asleep. Meantime Angelica, drink- 
ing from the other fountain and coming upon the sleeper, 
falls madly in love with him and watches for his awaken- 
ing. But, still under the influence of the magic waters he 
has imbibed, Rinaldo rides away without heeding her timid 
wooing, and leaves her to mourn until she too falls asleep. 

Orlando, coming up by chance, is gazing in admiration 
upon this sleeping princes, when Perrau rides up to claim 
her as his prize. These knights are fighting for her pos- 
session when the clash of their weapons awakens Angelica. 


Terrified she retreats into the thicket, and, thrusting her 
ring into her mouth, becomes invisible! Meantime the 
knights continue their duel until a messenger summons 
Ferrau to hasten to Spain, where war has broken out. 

Angelica, unable to forget Rinaldo since she has par- 
taken of the waters of love, now induces the magician Mal- 
gigi to entice her beloved to an island over which she reigns, 
where she vainly tries to win his affections and to detain 
him by her side. StiU under the influence of the waters of 
hate, Rinaldo escapes, only to land in a gloomy country, 
where he is plunged into a loathsome den. There a monster 
is about to devour him, when Angelica comes to- his rescue. 
But, even though she saves his life, he ungratefully refuses 
to return her affection, and abruptly leaves her to encounter 
other untoward adventures. Meantime Orlando, still search- 
ing for Angelica, encounters a sorceress who gives him a 
magic draught which causes him to forget the past, and 
detains him a captive in the island of Dragontine. 

Meanwhile the many knights enamoured with Angelica 
have gone to besiege her father's capital, but wMle they 
are thus employed she escapes from the city — ^thanks to her 
magic ring — and goes to deliver Orlando. In return, he 
pledges himself to drive the besiegers away and save her 
father's capital, and on the way thither encounters Rinaldo, 
with whom, not knowing who he is, he fights two days, 
so equally are they matched in strength and skill. The 
moment comes, however, when Orlando is on the point of 
slaying Rinaldo, and refrains only because Angelica op- 
portunely reveals his opponent's name. 

Still urged by Angelica, Orlando next hastens off to 
destroy the magic island and free its captives, who hurry 
back to France while their rescuer journeys to Cathay. 
There Angelica pretends she has fallen in love with him, 
and accompanies him when he returns to France under pre- 
text of becoming a Christian. Their way again lies through 
the forest of Arden, where this time Angelica drinks from 
the fountain of hatred. All her former love for Rinaldo 
therefore vanishes, and, as the latter has at the same time 


partaken of the water of love, their parts are reversed, for 
it is he who now pursues Angelica whom he previously 
loathed. His attentions so incense Orlando that he begins 
a fight, which Charlemagne checks, declaring that Angelica 
— who is placed in charge of Duke Namus — shall be awarded 
to the warrior who distinguishes himself most in the coming 

In the course of this campaign these two knights meet 
with many adventures, and are accompanied by Bradamant 
— ^Rinaldo's sister — ^who manfully fights by their side. 
Among their opponents the most formidable are Rogero and 
the pagan Rodomont, whose boastful language has given 
rise to the term rodomontade. During one of their en- 
counters, Rogero discovers that his antagonist is Bradamant 
— a woman — and falls desperately in love with her. 

It is at this point that Boiardo's poem ends ; and Ariosto, 
adopting his characters, immediately begins weaving three 
principal strands of narrative, — one relating to the wars 
of Charlemagne, another to Orlando's madness, and the 
third to the love of Rogero and Bradamant, — Rogero, an 
ancestor of the Ferrara family (Ariosto 's patrons), being 
the real hero of his poem. 

Not satisfied at being placed under the care of Duke 
Namus of Bavaria, Angelica escapes from his guardianship, 
only to be pursued by the unwelcome attentions of Rinaldo 
and Ferrau. WhUe these two fight for her possession, the 
lady, who spends her time fleeing from unwelcome suitors, 
escapes, only to fall into the hands of Sacripant, King of 
Circassia, another admirer, who bears her off in triumph. 
They meet a knight in white armor (Bradamant in quest of 
Rogero), ere they are overtaken by Rinaldo. A new duel 
now ensues, this time between Rinaldo and Sacripant, dur- 
ing which Angelica runs away and seeks refuge with a her- 
mit-magician, who then informs the combatants Angelica 
has been carried off to Paris by Orlando. Hearing this, 
the rivals cease fighting and join forces to rescue the lady, 
but, when they arrive in Paris, Charlemagne despatches 
Rinaldo to England and Scotland, where, among other mar- 


vellous adventures, is told the lengthy and fantastic yet 
beautiful story of Ginevra. 

It seems that, although loved by the Duke of Albany, 
this lady prefers the knight Ariolant. She thereby so en- 
rages her noble suitor that he finally bribes her maid to 
personate her and admit him by night to her chamber by 
means of a rope ladder. With fiendish cunning he has 
advised Ariolant to watch Ginevra, so this true lover, wit- 
nessing what he considers irrefutable proof of his lady- 
love's unehastity, departs in despair to commit suicide. 
His brother, deeming him already dead, denounces Ginevra, 
who, brought before the judges, is sentenced to die unless 
some champion will vindicate her honor. Having mean- 
time discovered the truth, Rinaldo clears the lady by 
winning a brilliant victory, and leaves only after she is 
safely married to the man she loves, who after all has not 
taken his life. 

The poet now picks up another thread and shows us 
Bradamant seeking Rogero, and discovering, by means of 
Angelica's magic ring, that he is captive of a magician. 
After a narrow escape, and a vision of the feats her descend- 
ants will perform, Bradamant helps Rogero to escape. Soon 
after, this reckless man vaults upon a hippogriff which 
lands him on an island, where an enchantress changes her 
visitors into beasts, stones, trees, etc. Instead of becoming 
one of her permanent victims, Rogero, warned by the 
myrtle to which he ties his steed, prevails upon her to re- 
lease her captives, and after many adventures is borne by 
the same hippogriff to the island of Ebuda, where a maiden 
is daily sacrificed to a cannibal Ore. "When Rogero dis- 
covers that the present victim is Angelica, he promptly 
delivers her and conveys her to Brittany. 

Meantime Orlando, mad with love, is vainly seeking 
Angelica. He too visits Ebuda — ^but too late to meet her 
there — and delivers another maiden. Then he returns to 
France to find Charlemagne so sorely pressed by foes, that 
he has implored St. Michael to interfere in his behalf. This 
archangel, cleverly enlisting the services of Silence and Dis- 


cord, brings back Rinaldo and other knights, who drive 
away the disintegrating pagan force after sundry bloody 
encounters. After one of these, Angelica finds a wounded 
man, whom she nurses back to health, and marries after a 
romantic courtship in the course of which they carve their 
names on many a tree. 

Still seeking Angelica, Orlando in due time discovers 
these names, and on learning Angelica is married becomes 
violently insane. Discarding his armor, — ^which another 
knight piously collects and hangs on a tree with an inscrip- 
tion warning no one to venture to touch it, — Orlando roams 
hither and thither, performing countless feats of valor, and 
even swimming across the Strait of Gibraltar to seek ad- 
ventures in Africa since he cannot get enough in Europe. 
In the course of his wanderings, Orlando (as well as sundry 
other characters in the poem) is favored by an apparition 
of Fata Morgana, the water-fairy, who vainly tries to lure 
him away from his allegiance to his lady-love by offering 
him untold treasures. 

Every once in a while the poem harks back to Rogero, 
who, having again fallen into a magician's hands, prowls 
through the labyrinthine rooms of his castle, seeking Brada- 
mant, whom he imagines calling to him for help. Mean- 
time the lady whom he is thus seeking is safe at Marseilles, 
but, hearing at last of her lover's plight, she too visits the 
magic castle, and would have been decoyed into its dun- 
geons had not Astolfo appeared with a magic horn, whose 
first blast makes the castle vanish into thin air ! Thus freed, 
the magician's prisoners gaze around them in wonder, and 
Rogero and Bradamant embrace with rapture, planning to 
marry as soon as Rogero has been baptized. 

But, on their way to Vallombroso where this sacrament 
is to take place, the lovers meet with other adventures and 
are again separated. Under escort of Astolfo, Bradamant 
sadly returns home, where her mother decrees she shall re- 
main until Rogero can come and get her. Meantime Rogero 
has again joined the Saracens, just as Discord has succeeded 
in kindling a quarrel between Rodomont and Mandriear, 


who both admire the same lady. They are about to fight for 
her favor, when the umpire of the lists pertinently suggests 
the lady be allowed to express her preference ! She frankly 
does so, and Eodomont, rejected, departs in high dudgeon. 
In this unhappy frame of mind he attacks everybody he 
meets, and after many victories is defeated in a battle with 
the Christians. During this last encounter Eogero is too 
grievously wounded to be able to join Bradamant, who, 
hearing a fair lady is nursing her lover, is consumed by 
jealou^. She therefore — ^notwithstanding her mother's de- 
cree — sets out in the garb of a knight to challenge her 
recreant lover and defeat him by means of her magic 

After unhorsing on the way all those who venture to 
tilt with her, Bradamant meets Eogero, who, recognizing 
her in the midst of their duel, flatly refuses to continue the 
fight, and implores her to accompany him into a neighboring 
forest, where he promises to explain all to her satisfaction. 
They are, however, followed thither by the maiden who has 
nursed Eogero, who, jealous in her turn, now attacks Brada- 
mant. Eogero, infuriated by Bradamant 's imminent peril, 
is about to slay his nurse remorselessly, when an enchanter's 
voice proclaims she is his sister, stolen in infancy! All 
excuse for mutual jealousy being thus removed, the two 
women agree to join forces and fight in behalf of Charle- 
magne until Eogero can discharge his obligations to the 
Saracens, receive baptism, and join the Christian raiiks. 

Meantime Astolf o has ridden off on the hippogriff to the 
earthly paradise, where he has interviews with sundry saints 
and apostles, and whence St. John conveys him up to the 
moon. In that appropriate region the apostle explains that 
Orlando's insanity is due to the fact he loves an infidel! 
He further points out where the hero's stray wits are stored, 
and directs Astolfo how to catch them in a vial and restore 
them to their rightful owner. Then, before conveying 
Astolfo back to earth, St. John vouchsafes him a glimpse 
of the Fates, wearing the web of Destiny, which they cast 


into the stream of Oblivion, whence only a few shreds are 
rescued by poets ! 

On returning from this eventful trip to the moon, Astolf o 
joins the Saracens. When they finally capture the mad 
Orlando, he produces his vial, and, making his friend inhale 
its contents, restores him to his senses. His mad passion 
for Angelica being now a thing of the past, Orlando con- 
centrates all his efforts to conquer the Saracens and triumphs 
in many a fight. 

Meantime Rogero, on his way to join Bradamant, has 
been shipwrecked on an island, where a hermit converts him 
to the Christian faith. While he is here, Orlando and 
Rinaldo arrive with their sorely wounded friend, Oliver, 
whom they entrust to the hermit's care. Not only is Orlando 
sane once more, but Rinaldo, having drunk the waters of 
the contrary fountain, no longer loves Angelica, and will- 
ingly promises the hand of his sister Bradamant to the new 
convert. But, when brother and prospective bridegroom 
reach court, they learn Charlemagne has promised Brada- 
mant to a Greek prince, to whom the lady has signified that 
ere he wins her he must fight a duel with her. On hearing 
that the Greek prince is at present besieging Belgrade, 
Rogero hastens thither, and performs wonders before he 
falls into the enemy's hands. But the Greek prince has 
been so impressed by Rogero 's prowess that he promises 
Viim freedom if he will only personate him in the dreaded 
duel with Bradamant. Rogero immediately consents to 
fight in the prince's armor, and defeats Bradamant, whom 
Charlemagne thereupon awards to the Greek prince. 

In despair at having forfeited his beloved, Rogero rides 
off to die of grief, but the Greek prince, riding after him to 
thank him, not only discovers the cacise of Rc^ero's sorrow, 
but generously relinquishes all claim to Bfadamant and 
volunteera to witness her marriage to Rogero. The courage 
shown by the bridegroom while at Belgrade has meantime 
so impressed the Bulgarians, that an embassy arrives to 
beg him to mount their throne. But before Rogero can 


assume the Bulgarian crown he is forced to conquer and slay 
the boastful Rodomont, who envies his exalted position. 

Many other characters appear in this poem, complicating 
the plot until it seems hopelessly involved to most modern 
readers, but, owing to the many romantic situations, to the 
picturesque verse, and to the unflagging liveliness of style, 
this epic is still popular in Italy. It has besides given rise 
to endless imitations, not only in Italian but in many other 
languages. It forms part of the great Charlemagne Cycle, 
of which the last epic is Rieciardetto, by Portiguerra, a 
priest who wagered he too could compose a string of ad- 
ventures like those invented by Ariosto. He won his wager 
by adopting the characters already made famous by Boiardo 
and Ariosto, and selected as his hero a younger brother of 
Rinaldo mentioned by his predecessors. 


Torquato Tasso, one of the three great Italian poets, was 
bom at Sorrento in 1544, and, after receiving his education 
in various Italian cities, conceived, while at the University 
of Padua, the idea of writing an epic poem, using an 
episode in the First Crusade as his theme. In 1572 Tasso 
became attached to the court of Perrara, where the duke 
and his two sisters delighted in his verses, admired his pas- 
toral Aminta, and urged him to finish his projected epic. 

During his sojourn at this court Tasso fell in love with 
Eleonora, sister of the duke, to whom he read the various 
parts of his epic as he completed them, and for whose sake 
he lingered at Perrara, refusing offers of preferment at 
Paris and at Florence. Although he completed his epic in 
1575, he did not immediately publish it, but sent copies to 
Rome and Padua for criticism. The learned men to whom 
he submitted his poem criticised it so freely that the poet's 
sensitive nature was greatly injured thereby. Almost at 
the same time the duke discovered the poet's passion for 
his sister. Furious to think Tasso should have raised his 


eyes to a princess, yet afraid he should carry his talents 
elsewhere, the duke, pretending to deem him insane, placed 
him under close surveillance. While Tasso was thus a 
prisoner, sundry false accusations were brought against 
him and his poem was published without his consent. 

Although Tasso contrived several times to escape from 
Ferrara, he invariably came back there, hoping to be recon- 
ciled to the duke. It was only in 1586 that he left this 
place for good and betook himself to Rome and Naples, 
where he was forced to live on charity. Just as he was 
about to be publicly crowned in Rome for his epic, he 
died there, at the age of fifty-two (1595). 

The epic "Jerusalem Delivered" contains an account 
of the Crusade of 1099 and extends over a period of forty 
days. It is divided into twenty cantos, written in otfcava 
rima, or eight-rhymed stanzas, and, owing to its rhythmic 
perfection, is still sung by Italian bards to popular 

Canto I. After stating exactly what task he proposes to 
perform in his poem, the poet describes how the Eternal 
Father, sitting on His heavenly throne, gazes down upon 
the plain of Tortosa, where the Crusaders are assembled. 
Six years have elapsed since they set out from Europe, 
during which time they have succeeded in taking Nicaea 
and Antioch, cities now left in charge of influential 
Crusaders. But Godfrey of Bouillon is pushing on with 
the bulk of the army, because he is anxious to wrest 
Jerusalem from the hands of the infidels and restore it to 
the worship of the true God. While he is camping on this 
plain, God sends Gabriel to visit him in sleep and inspire 
him with a desire to assemble a council, where, by a ringing 
speech, he will rouse the Christians to immediate action. 

On awakening from this vision, Godfrey loses no time 
in convening such an assembly, and there eloquently urges 
the Christians to fight, declaring their efforts have failed 
hitherto mainly because they have lacked purpose and 
unity. Hearing this, Peter the Hermit suggests the Cru- 
saders should select one chief, whose orders they will obey, 


and thereupon the warriors present unanimously elect God- 
frey of Bouillon as leader. Having secured this exalted 
post, Godfrey reviews his force, thus giving the poet an 
occasion to enumerate the leaders of the different corps, or 
armies, and explain from what countries they come. 
Amongst other resounding names, the poet specially men- 
tions Edward and his fair bride Gildippe, who, unwilling 
to be parted from her spouse, has donned a man's armor 
and followed him to the Crusade. Among the bravest 
fighters there, he also quotes Tancred, who, however, seems 
listless, and has accomplished no deed of valor since he 
beheld near a fountain and fell in love with Glorinda, a 
fair Amazon. 

To the same warbling of fresh waters drew, 
Arm'd, but unhelm'd and unforeseen, a maid; 
She was a pagan, and came thither too 
To quench her thirst beneath the pleasant shade; 
Her beautiful fair aspect, thus display'd. 
He sees; admires; and, touch'd to transport, glows 
With passion rushing to its fountain head, 
The heart; 'tis strange how quick the feeling grows; 
Scarce born, its power in him no cool calm medium knows. 

Another hero is Rinaldo (the same as the French Renaud 
de Montauban), who, although but a boy, escaped from 
his foster mother. Queen Mathilda, to go and fight for the 
deliverance of the Holy Sepulchre. His review completed, 
Godfrey of Bouillon orders his force to march on toward 
Jerusalem, whence he wishes to oust the Sultan Aladine 
(Saladin), who at present is sorely taxing the Christians 
to obtain funds enough to make war against the advancing 

Canto II. Advised by the sorcerer Ismeno, Aladine 
steals the image of the Virgin from the Christian temple, 
and sets it up in his mosque, where he resorts to all manner 
of spells and incantations to destroy her power. During 
the night, however, the Virgin's image disappears from 
the mosque and cannot be found, although Aladine offers 
great rewards for its restoration. Finally, he decrees that, 
unless the perpetrator of the theft denounces himself, he 


will slay all tlie Christians in the town. He is about to 
execute this cruel threat when Sophronia, a Christian maid, 
suddenly decides to sacrifice herself to save her co-religion- 
ists. She therefore appears before Aladine, declaring she 
stole the image from the temple, whereupon the sultan in 
anger orders her bound to the stake and burned alive. 

Doom'd in tormenting fire to die, they lay 
Hands on the maid; her arms with rough cords twining, 
Eudely her mantle chaste they tear away, 
And the white veil that o'er her droop'd declining: 
This she endured in silence unrepining, 
Yet her firm breast some virgin tremors shook; 
And her warm cheek, Aurora's late outshining. 
Waned into whiteness, and a color took, 
Like that of the pale rose or lily of the brook. 

Scarcely has Sophronia been fastened there, and while 
she is praying for God's aid to endure martyrdom without 
flinching, Olindo, a young Christian, deeming it impos- 
sible to allow a girl to sacrifice her life, rushes forward, 
declaring he alone committed the crime, but that the 
maiden, out of love for him, has assumed his guilt to save 
his life. Only then does he discover that the maiden tied 
to the stake is the very one he loves, but who hitherto has 
received his advances coldly ! On hearing the youth accuse 
himself of having stolen the image, Aladine questions the 
maiden, who denies it, insisting she alone is to blame. There- 
upon the sultan decrees both shall perish in the flames, 
and orders them tied to the stake back to back. It is in 
this position, and while in imminent peril of death, that 
the young man deplores the fact he is to die beside the 
one he hoped to marry and with whom he expected to spend 
a long and happy life. The executioners are about to set 
fire to the pyre where these generous young lovers are to 
end their days, when a young knight steps forward loudly 
proclaiming none of the Christians are to blame for 
the disappearance of the image, since Allah himself re- 
moved it from the temple because he considered it desecra- 
tion to have such an image within its walls. This young 
knight turns out to be the warrior maid Clorinda, who 


not only convinces Aladine that the young people are 
guiltless, but bribes him to release them, in exchange for 
her services in the coming war. Touched by each other's 
devotion, the young couple marry as soon as released, and, 
instead of dying, live together as husband and wife. 

Restored to life and liberty, how blest. 
How truly blest was young Olindo's fate! 
For sweet Sophronia's blushes might attest, 
That Love at length has touch'd her delicate 
And generous bosom; from the stake in state 
They to the altar pass; severely tried. 
In doom and love already made his mate, 
She now objects not to become his bride. 
And grateful live with him who would for her have died. 

Meanwhile two ambassadors have come from Egypt to 
visit Godfrey in his camp, and try iSrst by persuasions and 
then by threats to dissuade him from his projected attack 
upon Jerusalem. In spite of aU Alethes and Argantes can 
say, Godfrey insists upon carrying out his purpose, and, 
after dismissing these ambassadors with a haughty speech, 
marches on with his host. 

" Know, then, that we have borne all this distress 
By land and sea, — ^war, want, reverses — all! 
To the sole end that we might gain access 
To sacred Salem's venerable wall; 
That we might free the Faithful from their thrall. 
And win from God His blessing and reward: 
From this no threats our spirit can appal, 
For this no terms will be esteem'd too hard — 

Life, honors, kingdoms lost, or dignity debarr'd." 

Canto III. When they come within sight of Jerusalem, 
the Crusaders, overjoyed, hail the Holy City with cries of 
rapture, and, falling on their knees, swear to deliver it 
from the hands of the infidels. Seeing them advance, the 
pagans make hasty preparations to oppose them, and 
Clorinda, at the head of a small force, volunteers to make 
a sortie and boldly attacks the vanguard of the Crusaders. 

From the topmost tier of Jerusalem's ramparts, the 


Sultan Aladine watches their sortie, having beside him 
Erminia, daughter of the late king of Antioch, whom the 
Crusaders have sent on to Jerusalem, because they do not 
care to detain her a prisoner. During her sojourn in her 
father's town, Erminia has learned to know by sight all 
the Crusaders, and during her brief captivity she has fallen 
in love with Tancred, who was detailed to guard her. She 
can therefore give the Sultan Aladine all the information 
he wishes, and acts as cicerone while the battle is going 
on. From this point of vantage the sultan and princess 
watch Clorinda and Tancred meet, and behold how, after 
a lively encounter, Tancred strikes off the helmet of his 
opponent, whose sex is revealed by the streaming of her 
long golden hair. At sight of the wonderful maiden with 
whom he has fallen in love, Tancred refuses to continue 
the fight, although Clorinda urges him to strike. Undaunted 
by the fact that she is his foe, Tancred not only refuses to 
strike, but immediately begins to sue the beautiful maiden, 
who refuses to listen to him, and is soon swept away by 
Saracen forces, which intervene between her and Tancred. 

A battle now rages, in the course of which various 
knights perform great deeds, but, although Godfrey proves 
victor on this occasion, he loses Dudon, chief of his Ad- 
venturous Band and one of the bravest warriors in his 
army. While giving her explanations to Aladine in regard 
to the fight waged beneath their eyes, Erminia carefully 
explains she feels deadly hatred for Tancred, although the 
truth is she loves him dearly and is greatly relieved to 
see him escape from the fray uninjured. 

Many people having died in the course of this action, 
a truce is agreed upon so that both sides may bury their 
dead, and so, many funerals are celebrated with all due 
pomp and ceremony. Next the crusading force decides 
that siege-engines and towers will be necessary to enable 
them to scale the high walls of Jerusalem. They therefore 
send out a force of woodsmen to hew the trees which are 
to serve for the construction of the required towers. 


The duke, when thus his piety had paid 
The fun'ral rites, and shed his duteous tears. 
Sent all his skill'd mechanics to invade 
The forest, guarded by a thousand spears; 
Veil'd by low hills it stood, the growth of years,— 
A Syrian shepherd pointed out the vale. 
And thither brought the camp-artificers 
Ta fabricate the engines doom'd to scale 
The City's sacred towers and turn her people pale. 

Canto IV. The scene now changes to the infernal re- 
gions, where Satan deems it time to frustrate the Christians' 
aims, because it would ill-suit diabolical ends to have them 
recover possession of Jerusalem. Not only does Satan 
stimulate his hosts by reminding them of their forfeited 
bliss, but he encourages them to thwart the Christians by 
reminding them of the great deeds they have already done. 
His eloquence is not expended in vain, for the fiends all 
approve of his suggestions, and, when the council is over, 
flit forth, intent upon fomenting dissension among the 
leaders of the Crusade, and hindering their attempts in 
every other way possible. 

One demon in particular is to determine a wizard to 
send his niece Armida to ensnare the Christians. This 
enchantress, decked out with all the charms beauty and 
toilet can bestow, soon appears in the Christian camp, where, 
falling at Godfrey's feet, she proceeds to relate a tale of 
fictitious wrongs, claiming to be heiress of the city of 
Damascus, whence she has been ejected, and vowing if she 
could only secure the aid of a few knights she would soon 
recover her realm. In return for such aid as she im- 
plores from the Christians, she promises to do homage to 
them for her realm, and even pledges herself to receive 
baptism. Her artful speeches, the flattery which she 
lavishes upon Godfrey, and her languishing glances are all 
calculated to persuade him to grant her request; but the 
Crusader is so bent upon the capture of Jerusalem that 
nothing can turn him aside from his purpose. 

But, although Godfrey himself is proof against all 
Armida 's blandishments, his knights are not, and among 


those who succumb to the lady's charms is his own brothei* 
Eustace, who begs Ms permission to take ten knights and 
accompany the damsel to Damascus. Although Armida 
professes great gratitude for this help, she entices many 
other Crusaders to desert the camp, by casting languishing 
glances at them and making each man whom she looks 
upon believe she loves him only. 

All arts th' enchantress practised to beguile 
Some new admirer in her well-spread snare; 
Nor used with all, nor always the same wile. 
But shaped to every taste her grace and air: 
Here cloister'd is her eye's dark pupil, there 
In full voluptuous languishment is roll'd; 
Now these her kindness, those her anger bear, 
Spurr'd on or check'd by bearing frank or cold. 
As she perceived her slave was scrupulous or bold. 

Canto v. Not content with beguiling many knights, 
Armida further foments a quarrel between Kinaldo and 
Gemando, Prince of Norway, in regard to the command 
of the Adventurous Band, which is now without a leader. 
In the course of this quarrel, Einaldo is so sorely taunted 
by his opponent that, although the Crusaders are pledged 
not to fight each other, he challenges and slays Gemando. 
Then, afraid to be called to trial and sentenced to death 
for breaking the rules of the camp, Rinaldo flees to Egypt. 

On perceiving how greatly his army is weakened by the 
desertion of so many brave men, Godfrey is dismayed — 
all the more so because he hears the Egyptian army is 
coming to attack him, and because the supplies which he 
expected have been cut off. 

Canto VI. The Egyptian army boasts of no braver 
warrior than Argantes, who sallies forth to challenge the 
Christians, bidding Clorinda foUow him at a short distance, 
and come to his rescue should it be necessary. Although 
Argantes has summoned Godfrey to come forth and fight 
him, it is Tancred who is chosen as champion for the 
Christians, but as he draws near his opponent a glimpse 
of the fair Clorinda 's face makes him forget everything 
but her. 


He noted not where the Circassian rear'd 
His frightful face to the affronted skies, 
But to the hill-top where his Love appear'd, 
Turn'd, slack'ning his quick pace, his am'rous eyes. 
Till he stood steadfast as a rock, all ice 
Without, all glowing heat within; — the sight 
To him was as the gates of Paradise; 
And from his mind the mem'ry of the fight 
Pass'd like a summer cloud, or dream at morning light. 

One of the knights in his train, seeing he is not going 
to fight, spurs forward and meets Argantes, by whom he 
is defeated. On seeing this knight fall, TaJicred, suddenly 
brought to his senses, starts forward to avenge him, and 
combats with such fury that Argantes' armor fairly rings 
with the blows which rain down upon him. Argantes, 
however, is nearly as brave as Tanered, so the battle rages 
until nightfall, when the heroes are separated by the heralds, 
although both vow they wiU renew the struggle on the 
morrow. But, when they have ceased fighting and both 
discover they have serious wounds, their respective armies 
decree a six-days' truce and pledge themselves to await 
the result of the duel. 

The wounded Argantes has returned to Jerusalem, where 
Erminia uses her magic balsams to heal his wounds, secretly 
wishing meanwhile that she might lavish her care upon 
Tanered, whom she still loves. So ardent is her desire to 
behold him, that she finally appropriates Clorinda's armor 
and rides off to the Christian camp, sending a messenger 
ahead to announce a lady is coming to heal Tanered if he 
will give her a safe-conduct to his tent. Tanered imme- 
diately sends word the lady wiU be welcome, but mean- 
while the Christians, catching a glimpse of the waiting 
Erminia, and mistaking her for Clorinda owing to her 
armor, endeavor to capture her. 

Canto VII. To escape from her pursuers, Erminia flees 
into a trackless forest, where, after wandering some time, 
she meets a shepherd, who gives her an asylum in his hut. 
There she turns shepherdess, but does not forget Tanered, 
whose name she carves in many a tree. Meantime the news 


spreads through the camp that Clorinda has been seen 
and is even now closely pursued by a troop of Christians. 
Hearing this Tancred, disregarding his wounds, sets out 
to find her. While wandering thus in the forest, weakened 
by loss of blood, he is captured by Armida, the enchantress, 
who detains him in a dungeon, where he eats his heart out 
for shame because he will not be able to respond when the 
trumpets sound for the renewal of his duel with Argantes. 

The moment having come for this battle and the Cru- 
saders' champion being absent, old Count Raymond volun- 
teers to meet Argantes, and is about to get the better of 
him, when an archer from the wall suddenly discharges a 
shaft at him. Such treachery exasperates the Christians, 
who, exclaiming the truce has been broken, precipitate 
themselves upon their foes, and in the general battle which 
ensues many deeds of valor are performed. 

Canto VIII. During this battle a great storm arises, 
and the Christians, who, notwithstanding their courage, 
have been worsted, beat a retreat, finding on their return 
to camp that one of their companions, defeated and mor- 
tally wounded, has despatched a messenger to carry his 
sword to Rinaldo. The Italian force thereupon accuses 
Godfrey of having done away with Rinaldo, but he not 
only succeeds in refuting such an accusation, but sentences 
his chief detractor to death. 

Canto IX. Sultan Solyman of Nieae, who has joined 
Sultan Aladine of Jerusalem, now comes to attack the 
Christians by night, assisted by many fiends, but the arch- 
angel Michael warns the crusaders of what is coming and 
enables them to get the better of their foes by bringing 
back the troops which followed Armida to Damascus. In 
this encounter a Christian knight slays a page of the sultan, 
who, seeing this child dead, experiences such grief that, 
after avenging his death, he wishes to withdraw temporarily 
from the battle. 

"Let Godfrey view once more, and smile to view 
My second exile; — soon shall he again 
See me in arms retum'd, to vex anew 


His haiinted peace and never stable reign: 
Yield I do not; eternal my disdain 
Shall be as are my wrongs; though fires consume 
My dust, immortal shall my hate remain; 
And aye my naked ghost fresh wrath assume, 
Through life a foe most fierce, but fiercer from the tomb! " 

Canto X. The sultan, after journeying part way back 
to Egypt, pauses to rest, and is visited by a wizard, who 
spirits him over the battle-field and back to Jerusalem in a 
magic chariot. This pauses at a hidden cave, the entrance 
to an underground passage, by which they secretly enter 
the sultan's council chamber. 

Ismeno shot the lock; and to the right 
They climb'd a staircase, long untrod, to which 
A feeble, glimm'ring, and malignant light 
Stream'd from the ceiling through a window'd niche; 
At length by corridors of loftier pitch 
They sallied into day, and access had 
To an illumined hall, large, round, and rich; 
Where, sceptred, crown'd, and in dark purple clad. 
Sad sat the pensive king amid his nobles sad. 

Solyman, overhearing as he enters some of the nobles pro- 
pose a disgraceful peace and the surrender of Jerusalem, 
hotly opposes such a measure, and thus infuses new cour- 
age into their breasts. 

Canto XI. Meantime Godfrey of Bouillon, having 
buried his dead, questions the knights who were lured 
away by Armida, and they relate that, on arriving near 
the Dead Sea, they were entertained at a sumptuous 
banquet, where they were given a magic draught, which 
transformed them for a time into sportive fishes. Armida, 
having thus demonstrated her power over them, threatened 
to use it to keep them prisoners forever unless they would 
promise to abjure their faith. One alone yielded, but the 
rest, delivered as prisoners to an emissary from Egypt, 
were met and freed from their bonds by the brave Rinaldo, 
who, instead of accompanying them back to camp, rode off 
toward Antioch. 

The Christians now prepare for their final assault, and, 


advised by Peter the Hermit, walk in solemn procession 
to the Mount of Olives, where, after singing hymns, all 
devoutly receive Communion. Thus prepared for anything 
that may betide, they set out on the morrow to scale the 
city walls, rolling ahead of them their mighty engines of 
war, by means of which they hope to seize the city. 

Most of the Crusaders have laid aside their heavy armor 
and assumed the light gear of foot-soldiers the better to 
scale the walls, upon which Clorinda is posted, and whence 
she shoots arrow after arrow at the assailants. Wounded 
by one of the missiles flung from the wall, Godfrey seeks 
his tent, where, the physician failing to extract the barb, 
an angel brings a remedy from heaven which instantly 
cures the wound. 

Canto XII. After awhile, seeing she does not do as 
much execution as she would like, Clorinda proposes to 
Argantes that they steal out of the city by night, and by 
chemical means set fire to the engines with which the 
Christians are threatening to capture the city. Willingly 
Argantes promises to accompany her in this perilous 
venture, but her slave, hoping to dissuade her, now reveals 
to her for the first time, the story of her birth, and informs 
her she is the daughter of a Christian. He adds her dying 
mother besought him to have her child baptized, a duty 
he had failed to perform, although repeatedly warned by 
visions to repair his neglect. But, although similar visions 
have frequently haunted the dreams of Clorinda herself, 
she persists in her undertaking to set fire to the war 

She has no sooner done so, however, than the Christians, 
aroused, set out in pursuit of her and of her companions. 
Bravely covering their retreat so they can reenter the city 
safely, Clorinda delays her own until the gates closed. But 
with great presence of mind, the warrior-maid, who is 
wearing black armor, mingles in the darkness with the 
Crusaders. None of these suspects she does not belong to 
their ranks, save Tanered, who follows her to a remote 
place beneath the walls, where he challenges her to a deadly 


fight, little divining who she is. The battle proves fierce, 
and both combatants strike until Tancred runs his sword 
through his opponent. Dying, Clorinda reveals her name 
and faintly begs Tancred to baptize her before life leaves 
her body. 

"Friend! thou hast won; I J)ardon thee, and 
Forgive thou me! I fear not for this clay. 
But my dark soul — pray for it, and bestow 
The sacred rite that laves all stains away: " 
Like dying hymns heard far at close of day. 
Sounding I know not what in the sooth'd ear 
Of sweetest sadness, the faint words make way 
To his fierce heart, and, touch'd with grief sincere. 
Streams from his pitying eye th' involuntary tear. 

Such a request cannot be disregarded, so, although 
Tancred is frantic with grief at the thought of having slain 
his beloved, he hurries to a neighboring stream, draws 
water in his helmet, and, after baptizing his dying sweet- 
heart, swoons over her body. His companions, finding him 
there, convey him and Clorinda 's body to his tent, where 
they vainly try to rouse him, but he is so overcome with 
melancholy that he thinks of nothing but joining Clorinda 
in her tomb. 

Canto XIII. Meantime the foe, having heard of 
Clorinda 's death, vow to avenge her, while the Crusaders 
seek materials to reconstruct their towers. Hastening to 
a forest near by, they discover a wizard has cast such a 
spell upon it that all who try to enter are frightened away. 
Finally Tancred enters this place, and, although he is met 
by earthquakes and other portents, he disregards them all, 
and starts to cut down a tree. But, when blood gushes 
from its stem, and when Clorinda 's voice informs him he 
has wounded her again, he flees without having accom- 
plished his purpose. Heat and drought now cause further 
desertions and discourage the Crusaders, until Godfrey, 
full of faith in the justice of their cause, prays so fervently 
that rain is vouchsafed them. 

Canto XIV. In a dream Godfrey is now admonished to 
proceed, and told, if he can only persuade Rinaldo to re- 


turn, Jerusalem will soon fall into the hands of the 
Christians. Because no one knows where Rinaldo has gone, 
Godfrey despatches two knights in quest of him. After 
some difficulty they interview a wizard, who, after exhibit- 
ing to them his magic palace, tells them Armida, to punish 
Rinaldo for rescuing his companions from her clutches, has 
captured him by magic means and borne him off to her 
wonderful garden in the Fortunate Isles. The hermit then 
bestows upon them a golden wand which will defeat all 
enchantments, and bids them hasten to the Fortunate Isles. 

Canto XV. Hastening off to the seashore armed with 
this golden wand, these two knights find a magic vessel, 
wherein they sail with fabulous speed over the sea, and 
through the Strait of Gibraltar, out into the western ocean, 
the nymph at the helm meanwhile informing them that this 
is the road Columbus is destined to travel. Sailing thus 
they reach the Fortunate Isles, where, notwithstanding 
many enchantments and temptations brought to bear to 
cheek their advance, they, thanks to the golden wand, force 
their way into Armida 's wonderful garden. 

Canto XVI. 

These windings pass'd, the garden-gates unfold, 
And the fair Eden meets their glad survey, — 
Still waters, moving crystals, sands of gold, 
Herbs, thousand flowers, rare shrubs, and mosses gray; 
Sunshiny hillocks, shady vales; woods gay, 
And grottoes gloomy, in one view combined. 
Presented were; and what increased their play 
Of pleasure at the prospect, was, to find 
Nowhere the happy Art that had the whole design'd. 

So natural seem'd each ornament and site. 
So well was neatness mingled with neglect. 
As though boon Nature for her own delight 
Her mocker mock'd, till fancy's self was check'd; 
The air, if nothing else there, is th' effect 
Of magic, to the sound of whose soft flute 
The blooms are born with which the trees are deck'd; 
By flowers eternal lives th' eternal fruit. 
This running richly ripe, while those but greenly shoot. 

Then, peeping cautiously through the trees, they be- 
hold Rinaldo reclining amid the flowers, his head resting 


in the enchantress' lap. Biding their time they watch 
Armida leave the enamoured knight, then step forward and 
bid him gaze into the magic mirror they have brought. 
On beholding in its surface a reflection of himself as he 
reaUy is, Binaldo, horrified, is brought to such a sense of 
his depraved idleness, that he springs to his feet and 
proposes to leave immediately with his companions. They 
are about to depart without bidding farewell to the fair 
enchantress, when she pursues them, and, after vainly 
pleading with Binaldo to stay with her, proposes to join 
him in any quality. "When he abruptly rejects her ad- 
vances and sails away, Armida, disappointed and infuriated 
because she has been scorned, hastens ofiE to the Egyptian 

Canto XVII. There she joins the Christians' enemies, 
declaring she dreams of naught save slaying Binaldo, and 
takes an important part in the review which the poet de- 
scribes minutely. To compass her ends the artful Armida, 
whose charms have so lavishly been displayed that they 
have fired every breast, promises to belong to the warrior 
who will bring her Binaldo 's head. Meanwhile this hero 
has returned to Palestine, and is met by the wizard, who, 
after reproving him for his dalliance, gives him wonderful 
armor, and exhibits on the shield the great deeds of an- 
cestors of the Duke of Perrara. 

Canto XVIII. Newly armed, Binaldo now returns to 
the crusaders' camp, apologizes to Godfrey for breaking 
the rules of the crusade, relates his adventures, and, after 
humbly confessing his sins, starts forth to brave the spells 
of the magic forest. Not only does he penetrate within 
its precincts, but, undeterred by all Armida 's enchant- 
ments, cuts down a tree, although, in hopes of staying his 
hand, her voice accuses him of cruelly wounding her ! No 
sooner has this tree fallen than the spell is broken; so 
other trees are cut down without difiSeulty, engines built, 
and all is prepared for a new assault on Jerusalem. 

Godfrey is particularly eager to make this new attempt 
immediately, because a carrier-pigeon has been caught bear- 


iag a, message from the Egyptians to the Sultan of Jeru- 
saleim, apprising him that within five days they will come 
to his aid. During this assault of Jerusalem, a sorcerer on 
the walls, working against the Christians, is slain by a rock. 
Soon after, thanks to the efforts of the Crusaders, the 
banner with the Cross floats over the walls of Jerusalem! 

Then raised the Christians all their long loud shout 
Of Victory, joyful, resonant, and high; 
Their words the towers and temples lengthen out; 
To the glad sound the mountains make reply: 

Then the whole host pours in, not o'er the walls 
Alone, but through the gates, which soon unclose, 
Batter'd or burnt; and in wide ruin falls 
Each strong defence that might their march oppose. 
Bages the sword; and Death, the slaught'rer, goes 
'Twixt Wo and Horror with gigantic tread. 
From street to street; the blood in torrents flows. 
And settles in lagoons, on all sides fed. 
And swell'd with heaps on heaps of dying and of dead. 

Canto XIX. Tancred, scaling a fortress, meets and 
slays Argantes, receiving at the same time so grievous a 
wound that he swoons on the battlefield. Meantime Godfrey 
has sent a spy to the Egyptian camp to find out whether the 
army is really coming on to Jerusalem. This spy, meeting 
Erminia there, induces her not only to reveal aU the Egyp- 
tians' plans (including a plot to slay Godfrey), but to go 
back with him. While they journey along together to rejoin 
the Christian forces, Erminia relates her adventures, saying 
that while she was playing shepherdess, some freebooters 
seized her and carried her to the Egyptian camp, where she 
was placed under Armida's protection. Her story is just 
finished when they perceive what appears to be a lifeless 
warrior. By the red cross on iis armor the spy recognizes 
a Christian, and further investigation enables him to 
identify Tancred. Erminia — ^who has owned she loves him 
— ^now takes possession of him, binds up his wounds with 
her hair ( !), and vows she will nurse him back to health. 

Canto XX. Warned by his spy that the Egyptians 


mean to send sundry of their number to mix, during the 
battle, with his body-guard and kill him, Godfrey changes 
the ensigns of his men, and thus discovers the conspirators, 
who are promptly put to death. Seeing the Egyptian army 
advance, Godfrey, in a stirring speech, urges his men to 
do their best for the Holy Sepulchre, and thereby stimu- 
lates them to fight so bravely that many of them lose their 
lives. Among the slain are Gildippe and her husband, who, 
having fought together side by side throughout the cam- 
paign, die together and are buried in the same tomb. The 
other party, however, is far more unfortunate, for the 
Saracens lose the sultans Aladine and Solyman, the former 
slain by Godfrey and the latter by Rinaldo. 

Meantime Armida, wavering between love and hate, 
tries to shoot Rinaldo, then flees, but, a little later, seeing 
him slay Solyman, she tries to kill herself. It is at this 
moment that Rinaldo approaches her, and offers to marry 
her provided she will be converted. Not only does she now 
promise conversion and marriage, but accompanies Rinaldo 
back to the camp. 

The Crusaders having completely defeated their foes 
and secured possession of Jerusalem, march with solemn 
hymns of praise to the Holy Sepulchre, where all kneel, 
thanking God for permitting them to deliver it from the 
hands of the heathen. It is with these thanks that the 
poem ends. 

Thus conquer'd Godfrey; and as yet there gloVd 
A flush of glory in the fulgent West, 
To the freed City, the once loved abode 
Of Christ, the pious chief and armies press'd: 
Arm'd as he was, and in his sanguine vest, 
With all his knights in solemn cavalcade, 
He reach'd the Temple; there, supremely bless'd. 
Hung up his arms, his banner'd spoils display'd, 
And at the sacred Tomb his vow'd devotions paid. 


Although the name Celt was given by the early Greeks 
to all the people living West of their country, the Romans 
included under that name only the tribes occupying the 
countries now known as Prance, Western Switzerland, Ger- 
many west of the Rhine, Belgium, and the British Isles. 
Blocked together under a generic name, the Celtic nation 
was, however, composed of many tribes, with separate 
dialects and customs. It has been surmised that two of 
these tribes, the British and Irish, early took possession 
of England and Ireland, where they flourished and sub- 
divided until disturbed by invasions of various kinds. 

The Celts all practised what is termed the Druidic cult, 
their priests being poets, bards, or gleemen, who could com- 
pose or recite in verse, ritual, laws, and heroic ballads. 
During the four hundred years of Roman occupation, the 
Celts in England became somewhat Romanized, but the 
Irish, and their near relatives the Scots, were less influenced 
by Latin civilization. It is therefore in Ireland, Scotland, 
and Wales that the oldest traces of Celtic literature are 
found, for the bards there retained their authority and 
acted as judges after Christianity had been introduced, and 
as late as the sixth century. Although St. Patrick is re- 
ported to have forbidden these Irish bards to continue 
their pagan incantations, they continued to exert some 
authority, and it is said Irish priests adopted the tonsure 
which was their distinctive badge. The bards, who could 
recite and compose poems and stories, accompanying them- 
selves on a rudimentary harp, were considered of much 
higher rank than those who merely recited incantations. 
They transmitted poems, incantations, and laws, orally 
only, and no proof exists that the pagan Irish, for instance, 
committed any works to writing previous to the intro- 
duction of Christianity in their midst. 

The heroic tales of Ireland from a large and well-marked 



epic cycle, the central tale of the series being the anonymous 
"Cattle of Cooly," wherein is related the war waged by 
the Irish Queen Mab against her husband for the possession 
of a mystic brown bull. In the course of this war the 
chief hero, Cuchulaind, makes himself famous by defend- 
ing the country of Ulster single-handed ! The still extant 
tales of this epic cycle number about thirty, and give in 
detail the lives of hero and heroine from birth to death, 
besides introducing many legends from Celtic mythology. 
The oldest MS. version of these tales, in mingled prose and 
verse, dates back to the twelfth century, and is hence about 
as venerable as the Edda. 

The Fennian or Oisianic poems and tales form another 
famous Irish cycle, Finn, or Fingal, their hero, having 
acted as commander for a body of mercenaries in the third 
century. His poet son, Oisin (the Ossiah of later Romance) , 
is said to have composed at least one of the poems in the 
famous Book of Leinster. Between the twelfth century 
and the middle of the fifteenth, this Fennian epos took on 
new life, and it continued to grow until the eighteenth cen- 
tury, when a new tale was added to the cycle. 

The names of a few of the early Irish poets have been 
preserved in Irish annals, where we note, for instance, 
Bishop Fiance, author of a stiU extant metrical life of 
St. Patrick, and Dalian FrogaeU, one of whose poems is in 
the "Book of the Dun Cow," compiled before 1106. Up 
to the thirteenth century most of the poets and harpers 
used to include Scotland in their circuit, and one of them, 
Muiredhach, is said to have received the surname of " the 
Scotchman," because he tarried so long in that country. 

When, after the fifteenth century, Irish literature be- 
gan to decline, Irish poems were recast in the native Scotch 
dialect, thus giving rise to what is known as Gaelic liter- 
ature, which continued to flourish until the Reformation. 
Samples of this old Gaelic or Erse poetry were discovered 
by James Macpherson in the Highlands, taken down from 
recitation, and used for the English compilation known as 
the Poems of Ossian. Lacking sufficient talent and learn- 


ing to remodel these fragments so as to produce a real 
masterpiece, Macpherson — vfho erroneously termed his work 
a translation — not only incurred the sharpest criticism, 
but was branded as a plagiarist. 

The "Welsh, a poetic race too, boast of four great poets, — 
Taliessin, Aneurin, Llywarch Hen, and Myrden (Me:flin). 
These composed poems possessing epic qualities, wherein 
mention is made of some of the characters of the Arthurian 
Cycle. One of the five Welsh MSS., which seem of suffi- 
cient antiquity and importance to deserve attention, is the 
Book of Taliessin, written probably during the fourteenth 
century. The Welsh also possess tales in verse, either his- 
torical or romantic, which probably antedated the extant 
prose versions of the same tales. Eleven of these were 
translated by Lady Charlotte Guest, and entitled Mabin- 
ogion (Tales for Children), although only four out of the 
eleven deserve that name. But some of these tales are con- 
nected with the great Arthurian cycle, as Arthur is the 
hero par excellence of Southern Wales, where many places 
are identified with him or his court. 

Although almost as little is known of the historical Arthur 
as of the historical Roland, both are heroes of important 
epic cycles. Leader probably of a small band of warriors, 
Arthur gradually became, in the epics, first general-in- 
chief, then king, and finally emperor of all Britain. It is 
conjectured that the Arthurian legends must have passed 
from South Wales into Cornwall, and thence into Armor- 
ica, "where it is probable the Round Table was invented." 
Enriched by new accretions from time to time, the Arthur- 
ian cycle finally included the legend of the Holy Grail, 
which must have originated in Provence and have been 
carried into Brittany by jongleurs or travelling minstrels. 

It has been ascertained that the legend of Arthur was 
familiar among the Normans before Geoffrey of Monmouth 
wrote his books, and it certainly had an incalculable forma- 
tive influence on European literature, much of which can be 
"traced back directly or indirectly to these legends." It 
was also a vehicle for that element which we call chivalry, 


which the church infused into it to fashion and mould the 
rude soldiers of feudal times into Christian knights, and, as 
it "expanded the imagination and incited the minds of men 
to inquiry beyond the conventional notions of things," it 
materially assisted in creating modem society. 

After thus tracing the Celtic germs and iafluenee in 
English literature, it becomes necessary to hark back to 
the time of the Tehtonic invasions, since English thought 
and speech, manners and customs are all of Teutonic origin. 
The invaders brought with them an already formed lan- 
guage and literature, both of which were imposed upon the 
people. The only complete extant northern epic of Danish- 
English origin is Beowulf, of which a synopsis follows, and 
which was evidently sung by gleemen in the homes of the 
great chiefs. Apart from Beowulf, some remains of 
national epic poetry have come down to us in the fine frag- 
ments of Finnsburgh and Waldhere, another version of 
Walter of Aquitaiae. 

There are also the Legends of Havelock the Dane, of 
King Horn, of Beves of Hamdoun, and of Guy of Warwick, 
aU four of which were later turned into popular prose 
romances. Intense patriotic feeling also gave birth to the 
Battle of Maldon, or Bryhtnoth's Death, an ancient poem, 
fortunately printed before it was destroyed by fire. This 
epic relates how the Viking Anlaf came to England with 93 
ships, and, after hanying the coast, was defeated and 
slain in battle. 

The earliest Christian poet in England, C'ffidmon, in- 
stead of singing of love or fighting, paraphrased the Scrip- 
tures, and depicted the creation in such eloquent lines that 
he is said to have inspired some of the passages in Milton's 
Paradise Lost. Chief among the religious poems ascribed 
to Csedmon, are Genesis, Exodus, and Daniel, but, although 
in general he strictly conforms with the Bible narrative, he 
prefixed to Genesis an account of the fall of the angels, 
and thus supplied Milton with the most picturesque feature 
of his theme. 

Next come the epic poems of Cynewulf, Crist, Juliana, 


Elene, and Andreas, also written in alliterative verse. In 
Elene the poet gives us the legend of finding of the cross ^ 
by the empress Helena, dividing his poem into fourteen 
cantos or fitts. 

It is in Gildas and Nennius' Historia Britonum that 
we find the first mention of the legendary colonization of 
Britain and Ireland by refugees from Troy, and of the 
exploits of Arthur and the prophesies of Merlin. This 
work, therefore, contains some of the "germs of fables 
which expanded into Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of 
Britain, which was written in Latin some time before 1147," 
although this historian claims to derive his information from 
an ancient British book of which no trace can be found. 

There is, besides, a very curious yet important legend 
cycle, in regard to a letter sent from Heaven to teach the 
proper observation of Sunday. The text of this letter can 
be found in old English in Wulfstan's homilies. Besides 
sacred legends, others exist of a worldly nature, such as the 
supposed letter from Alexander to Aristotle, the Wonders 
of the East, and the Story of Apollonius of Tyre. The 
first two, of course, formed part of the great Alexander 
cycle, while the latter supplied the theme for Pericles of 

With the Norman Conquest, French became the literary 
language of England, and modem romance was born. Ro- 
mance cycles on "the matter of France" or Legends of 
Charlemagne, and on "the matter of Britain" or Legends 
of Arthur, became popular, and Geoffrey of Monmouth 
freely made use of his imagination to fill up the early 
history of Britain, for his so-called history is in reality a 
prose romance, whence later writers drew themes for many 
a tale. 

Walter Map, bom on the border of Wales in 1137, is 
credited with the no longer extant Latin prose romance 
of Lancelot du Lac, which included the Quest of the Holy 
Grail and the Death of Arthur. Besides Wace's Brut, we 
have that of Layamon, and both poets not only explain how 

•See the author's "Legends of the Virgin and Christ." 


Britain's name is derived from Brut, — a member of Priam's 
family and refugee from Troy, — ^but go on to give the 
history of other eeirly kings of Britain, including Arthur. 
They often touch the true epic note, — as in the wrestling 
match between Corineus and the giant, — use similes drawn 
from every-day life, and supply us with legends of King 
Lear and of Cymbeline. 

It was toward the end of the twelfth century that 
Arthur reached the height of his renown as romantic hero, 
the "matter of Britain" having become international prop- 
erty, and having been greatly enriched by poets of many 
climes. By this time Arthur had ceased to be a king of 
Britain, to become king of a fairyland and chief exponent 
of chivalric ideals and aims. 

To name all the poets who had a share in developing the 
Arthurian Legend would prove an impossible task, but 
Nennius, Gildas, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, Layamon, 
Benoit de St. Maur, Chrestien de Troyes, Marie de Prance, 
Hartmann von der Aue, and Wolfram von Eschenbaeh 
have, in English, French, and German, helped to develop 
the "matter of Britain," and have managed to connect it 
with "the matter of France." 

During the age of metrical romances (1200 to 1500), all 
the already extant cycles were remodelled and extended. 
Besides, not only were Greek and Latin epics translated so 
as to be within reach of aU, but one country freely bor- 
rowed from another. Thus, the French romances of Huon 
de Bordeaux and of the Four Sons of Aymon found many 
admirers in England, where the former later supplied 
Shakespeare with some of the characters for a Midsummer 
Night's Dream. It was to offset the very popular romance 
of Alexander, that some patriotic poet evolved the romance 
of Richard Cceur de Lion, explaining how this king earned 
his well-known nickname by wrenching the heart out of a 

Some of these romances, such as Flores and Blanche- 
flour, have "the voluptuous qualities of the East," make 
great use of magic of all kinds, and show the idyllic side 


of love. The tragedy of love is depicted in the romance 
of Tristram and Iseult, where a love-potion plays a promi- 
nent part. But, although knightly love and valor are 
the stock topics, we occasionally come across a theme of 
Christian humility, like Sir Isumbras, or of democracy, as 
in the Squire of Low Degree and in the Ballads of Robin 

With the advent of Chaucer a new poet, a new lan- 
guage, and new themes appear. Many of his Canterbury 
tales are miniature epics, borrowed in general from other 
writers, but retold with a charm all his own. The Knight's 
Tale, or story of the rivalry in love of Palamon and 
Arcite, the tale of Gamelyn, and that of Troilus and Cres- 
sida, all contain admirable epic passages. 

Spenser, our next epic poet, left us the unfinished 
Faerie Queene, an allegorical epic which shows the influence 
of Ariosto and other Italian poets, and contains exquisitely 
beautiful passages descriptive of nature, etc. His allegor- 
ical plot affords every facility for the display of his grace- 
ful verse, and is outlined in another chapter. 

There are two curious but little-known English epics, 
William Warner's chronicle epic entitled "Albion's Eng- 
land" (1586), and Samuel Daniel's "Civil Wars." The 
first, beginning with the flood, carries the reader through 
Greek mythology to the Trojan War, and hence by means 
of Brut to the beginnings of English history, which is then 
continued to the execution of Maiy Stuart. The second 
(1595) is an epic, in eight books, on the Wars of the Roses. 
Drayton also wrote, on the theme of the Civil Wars, an 
epic entitled "The Barons' Wars," and undertook a de- 
scriptive and patriotic epic in "Polyolbion," wherein he 
makes a tour of England relating innumerable local legends. 

Abraham Cowley composed an epic entitled "Davideis," 
or the troubles of David. He begins this work in four 
books with a description of two councils held in Heaven 
and hell in regard to the life of this worthy. 

Dryden was not only a translator of the classic epics, 
but projected an epic of his own about' Arthur. Almost 


at the same time Pope was planning to write one on Brut, 
but he too failed to carry out his intentions, and is best 
known as the translator of the Iliad, although some author- 
ities claim the " Rape of the Lock " is a unique sample of 
the epopee galante. 

The poet Keats, whose life was so short, left us a com- 
plete mythological epic in "Bndymion," a fragment of one 
in "Hyperion," and a reproduction of one of the old ro- 
mances in "Isabella, or a Pot of Basil." 

Shelley, Keats' contemporary, wrote poems abounding 
in epic passages, — ^"Alastor, or the Spirit of Solitude," 
"The Revolt of Mam," "Adonais," and "Prometheus Un- 
bound"; while Byron's epical poems are "Manfred," "The 
Corsair," and "Don Juan"; and Scott's, "The Lay of the 
Last Minstrel," "Marmion," "The Lady of the Lake," 
and "The Bridal of Triermain." 

The greatest of Coleridge's poems, "The Ancient 
Mariner," is sometimes called a visionary epic, while his 
"Christabel" conforms more closely to the old roman 

As the translator of the epical romances of "Amadis de 
Gaule" and "Palmerin," Southey won considerable re- 
nown ; he also wrote the oriental epics ' ' Thalaba ' ' and ' ' The 
Curse of Kehama," as well as epical poems on "Madoc," 
"Joan of Arc," and "Roderick, the Last of the Goths." 

Moore, although preeminently a lyric poet, has left us 
the eastern epic "LaUa Rookh," and Loekhart some "Span- 
ish Ballads" which paraphrase the Cid. 

Among Macaulay's writings the "Lays of Anraent 
Rome" have epic qualities, which are also found in Leigh 
Hunt's "Story of Rimini." 

The plot of Tristram has been utilized both by Matthew 
Arnold and by Swinburne, while William and Lewis Morris 
have rewritten some of the old classic stories in "The. 
Earthly Paradise," the "Life and Death of Jason," the 
"Defense of Guinevere," and the "Epic of Hades." 

It was, however, the Victorian poet-laureate Tennyson 
who gave the Arthurian Legend its latest and most artistic 


touches in "Idylls of the King." Some critics also claim 
as an example of the domestic epic his "Enoch Arden." 

Among recent writers, sundry novelists have been hailed 
as authors of prose epics. Thomas Westwood has com- 
posed in excellent verse the "Quest of the Sangreall," Mrs. 
Trask "Under King Constantine, " a notable addition to 
the Arthurian cycle, and Stephen Philips has sung of 
Ulysses and of King Alfred. 


Introduction. The only Anglo-Saxon epic which has 
been preserved entire was probably composed in Sweden 
before the eighth century, and taken thence to England, 
where this pagan poem was worked over and Christianized 
by some Northumbrian bard. Although some authorities 
declare it dates back as far as the fifth century, most afSrm 
it must have been composed in the seventh. The present 
manuscript, now preserved in the British Museum, dates 
back to the tenth century. It contains some 3182 lines, 
and is written in alliterative verse (that is to say, that all 
the lines are written in pairs and that each perfect pair 
contains two similar sounds in the first line and one in 
the second) . Although the author of Beowulf is unknown, 
the poem affords priceless hints in regard to the armor, 
ships, and mode of life of our early Saxon fore-fathers. 
Many translations of the poem have been made, some in 
prose and others in verse, and the epic as it stands, con- 
sisting of an introduction and forty-two "Pits," is the 
main text for the study of the Anglo-Saxon language. 

The Epic. Hrothgar, King of Denmark, traces his 
origin to Skiold, son of Odin, who as an infant drifted to 
Demnark's shores. This child lay on a sheaf of ripe 
wheat, surrounded by priceless weapons, jewels, and a 
wonderful suit of armor, which proved he must be the 
scion of some princely race. The childless King and Queen 

' See also the author's " Legends of the Middle Agesi" 


of Denmark therefore gladly adopted him, and in due time 
he succeeded them and ruled over the whole country. When 
he died, his subjects, placing his body in the vessel in which 
he had come, set him adrift. 

Men are not able 
Soothly to tell us, they in halls who reside, 
Heroes under heaven, to what haven he hied." 

Hrothgar, his descendant, constructed a magnificent 
hall, called Heorot, wherein to feast his retainers and en- 
tertain them with the songs of the northern skalds. 

It burned in his spirit 
To urge his folk to found a great building, 
A mead-hall grander than men of the era 
Ever had heard of, and in it to share 
With young and old all of the blessings 
The Lord had allowed him, save life and retainers. 

The night of the inauguration of this building, the 
royal body-guard lay down in the hall to sleep ; and, when 
the servants entered the place on the morrow, they were 
horrified to find floor and walls spattered with blood, but 
no other trace of the thirty knights who had rested there 
the night before. Their ery of horror aroused Hrothgar, 
who, on investigating, discovered gigantic footsteps leading 
straight from the hall to the sluggish waters of a moun- 
tain tarn, above which a phosphorescent light always hov- 
ered. These footsteps were those of Grendel, a descendant 
of Cain, who dwelt in the marsh, and who had evidently 
slain and devoured all the king's men. 

Too old to wield a sword in person, Hrothgar offered 
a princely reward to whoever would rid his country of this 
terrible scourge. But, although many warriors gladly 
undertook the task, the monster proved too strong for all, 
and none save a minstrel — ^who hid in one corner of the 
hall — ever succeeded in escaping from his clutches. This 
minstrel, after seeing Grendel feed upon his companions, 

'All the quotations in this chapter are taken from Hall's 
translation of " Beowulf." 


was so impressed by the sight, that he composed a song 
about it, which he sang wherever he went, and once repeated 
for the entertainment of King Higelae and his nephew 
Beowulf. In answer to their eager questions, the bard 
averred the monster still existed and invariably invaded 
the haU when a feast was held there. This was enough to 
arouse in Beowulf a burning desire to visit Denmark and 
rid the world of this scourge. Knowing his nephew was 
very brave and having had proof of his endurance (for the 
young man had once in the course of a swimming match, 
stayed in the water five whole days and nights, killing many 
sea monsters who came to attack him), Higelae gladly 
allowed him to depart with fourteen chosen companions. 
Thus Beowulf set out "over the Swan-Road" for Denmark, 
to offer his services to the king. 

The foamy-necked floater fanned by the breeze, 
Likest a bird, glided the waters, 
Till twenty and four hours thereafter 
The twist-stemmed vessel had travelled such distance 
That the sailing-men saw the sloping embankments. 
The sea-cliffs gleaming, precipitous mountains, 
Nesses enormous: they were nearing the limits 
At the end of the ocean. 

On seeing a vessel with armed men approach their 
shores, the Danish coast guards challenged the new-comers, 
who rejoined their intentions were purely friendly, and 
begged to be led to the king. There Beowulf and his 
attendants — after paying their respects to Hrothgar — 
offered their services to rid him of the terrible scourge 
which had preyed so long upon his people. On hearing 
this, the king immediately ordered a feast prepared, and 
at its close allowed Beowulf, at his request, to remain 
alone in the hall with his men. Aware that no weapon 
could pierce the armed hide of the uncanny monster, 
Beowulf — who had the strength of thirty men — ^laid aside 
his armor and prepared to grapple with Grendel by main 
strength when he appeared. 


Then the brave-mooded hero bent to his slumber. 
The pillow received the cheek of the noble; 
And many a martial mere-thane attending 
Sank to his slumber. 

Just as the chill of morning invades the hall, Beowulf 
hears stealthy steps approaching and the great door bursts 
open, admitting a monster, aU enveloped in clammy mist, 
which — ■pouncing upon one of the men — crunches his bones 
and greedily drinks his blood. Beowulf, intently watching 
the fiend, seeing him stretch out a horny hand for another 
victim, suddenly grasps it with such force and determina- 
tion that the monster, notwithstanding frantic efforts, can- 
not free himself. A terrible struggle now takes place, in 
the course of which Beowulf and Grendel, wrestling madly, 
overturn tables and couches, shaking the hall to its very 
foundations. Nevertheless, Beowulf chngs so fast to the 
hand and arm he had grasped, that the monster, trying to 
free himself by a mighty jerk, tears his arm out of its 
socket and disappears, uttering a blood-curdling cry, and 
leaving this trophy in his foe's grasp. Mortally wounded, 
Grendel hastens back to his marsh, leaving a trail of blood 
behind him, while Beowulf, exhausted but triumphant, 
proudly exhibits the huge hand and limb which he has 
wrenched from the monster, declaring it will henceforth 
serve to adorn Heorot. 

When Hrothgar beholds it on the morrow and hears 
an account of the night's adventures, he warmly congratu- 
lates Beowulf, upon whom he bestows rich gifts, and in 
whose honor he decrees a grand feast shall be held in this 
hall. While they are drinking there and listening to the 
music of the skalds (who sing of Sigmund the dragon- 
slayer and of a fight at Finnsburgh) , Wealtheow, Queen of 
Denmark, appears in their midst, and bestows upon Beowulf 
a wonderful necklace and a ring of the finest gold, bidding 
him wear them in memory of his triumph. 

The feast over, Hrothgar escorts his guest to the palace, 
where he is to rest that night, leaving his own men to 
guard Heorot, for all feel eonfident Grendel has been too 



sorely wounded ever to appear again. But, while the war- 
riors sleep peacefully, the giant's mother — an equally 
hideous monster — comes into the haU, secures her son's 
gory arm which hangs there as a trophy, and bears away 
Aeschere, one of the king's friends. 

On learning of this loss on the morrow, Hrothgar is 
overcome with grief, and Beowulf, hearing his lamentations, 
suddenly appears to inquire what has occurred. On learn- 
ing the ghastly news, he volunteers to complete his work 
and avenge Aeschere by attacking Grendel's mother in her 
own retreat. But, knowing the perils he is facing, he makes 
his arrangements in ease he should never return, before 
following the bloody traces left by the monsters. Then he 
hastens to the pool, where he finds Aeschere 's head set 
aloft as a trophy! Gazing down into the depths, Beowulf 
now perceives the waters are darkly tinged with the mon- 
ster's blood, but nevertheless plunges boldly into their 
depths, where he swims about a whole day seeking Grendel's 
retreat. Guided at last by a phosphorescent gleam, our 
hero finally reaches a cave, after slaying on the way a 
number of monsters sent to cheek his advance. On nearing 
the giants' den, a strong eddy suddenly sweeps him within 
reach of Grendel's mother, who, clutching him fast, flings 
him on the floor, and is trying to find a joint in his armor, 
so as to kill him with her knife, when Beowulf, snatching 
a sword hanging from a rocky projection, deals her so fierce 
a blow that he severs her head from its trunk. 

Then he saw amid the war-gems a weapon of victory. 

An ancient giant-sword, of edges a-doughty, 

Glory of warriors: of weapons 'twas choicest, 

Only 'twas larger than any man else was 

Able to bear in the battle-encounter, 

The good and splendid work of the giants. 

He grasped then the sword-hilt, knight of Scyldings, 

Bold and battle-grim, brandished his ring-sword. 

Hopeless of living hotly he smote her. 

That the fiend-woman's neck firmly it grappled. 

Broke through her bone-joints, the bill fully pierced her 

Fate-curs6d body, she fell to the ground then: 


The hand sword was bloody, the hero exulted. 
The brand was brilliant, brightly it glimmered. 
Just as from heaven gem-like shineth 
The torch of the firmament. 

The blood from this monster, pouring out of the cave, 
mingles with the waters Andthout, which begin to seethe and 
bubble in so ominous a way that Hrothgar and his men, 
exclaiming Beowulf is dead, sadly depart. The hero's at- 
tendants, however, mindful of orders received, linger at the 
side of the mere, although they cherish small hope of ever 
beholding their master again. 

Having disposed of Grendel's mother, Beowulf rushes 
to the rear of the cave, where, finding Grendel dead, he 
cuts off his head, and with this trophy makes his way up 
through the tainted waters, which melt his sword, so that 
he has nothing but the hilt left on reaching the shore. 

The sword-blade began then. 
The blood having touched it, contracting and shrivelling 
With battle-icicles; 'twas a wonderful marvel 
That it melted entirely, likest to ice when 
The Father unbindeth the bond of the frost and 
Unwindeth the wave-bands. He who wieldeth dominion 
Of times and of tides: a truth-firm Creator. 

It is just as his followers are about to depart that 
Beowulf emerges from the waters, and, when they behold 
his trophy and hear his tale, they escort him back in 
triumph to Heorot, where the grateful Danes again load 
him with presents. 

His task accomplished, Beowulf returns home, where 
he bestows the necklace he has won upon the Queen of the 
Geats, and continues faithfully to serve the royal couple, 
even placing their infant son upon the throne after their 
death, and defending his rights as long as he lives. Then 
the people elect Beowulf king, and during a reign of fifty 
years he rules them wisely and well. Old age has robbed 
Beowulf of part of his fabulous strength, when his sub- 
jects are suddenly dismayed by the ravages of a fire-breath- 
ing dragon, which has taken up its abode in some neighbor- 


ing mountains, where he gloats over a hoard of glittering 
gold. A fugitive slave having made his way into the 
monster's den during one of its absences and abstracted a 
small portion of its treasure, the incensed firedrake, in 
revenge, flies all over the land, vomiting fire and smoke in 
every direction, and filling all hearts with such terror that 
the people implore Beowulf to deliver them from this 
monster too. 

Although Beowulf realizes he no longer enjoys youthful 
vigor, he, nevertheless, sets out bravely with eleven men to 
attack the monster. On reaching the mountain goi^e, he 
bids his small troop stand still, and, advancing alone, chal- 
lenges the dragon to come forth. A moment later the 
mountain shakes as a fire-breathing dragon rushes out to 
attack Beowulf, who feels his fiery breath even through 
shield and armor. With deadly fury the dragon attacks 
the warrior, coiling his scaly folds around and around 
Beowulf, who vainly slashes at him with his sword, for 
scales made him invulnerable. 

Seeing his master about to be crushed to death, Wiglaf 
— one of Beowulf's followers — ^now springs forward to aid 
him, thus causing sufficient diversion to enable Beowulf to 
creep beneath the dragon, and drive his sword deep into 
its undefended breast! Although the monster's coils now 
drop limply away from his body, poor Beowulf has been 
so sorely burned by its breath that he feels his end is near. 
Turning to his faithful follower, he thanks him for his aid, 
bidding him hasten into the cave and bring forth the 
treasure he has won for his people, so he can feast his 
eyes upon it before he dies. 

" Fare thou with haste now 
To behold the hoard 'neath the hoar-grayish stone, 
WeIl-Iov6d Wiglaf, now the worm, is a-lying. 
Sore-wounded sleepeth, disseized of his treasure 
60 thou in haste that treasures of old I 
Gold-wealth may gaze on, together see lying 
The ether-bright jewels, be easier able, 
Having the heap of hoard-gems, to yield my 
Life and the land-folk whom long I have governed." 


Sure that the monster can no longer molest them, the 
rest of the warriors press forward in their turn, and re- 
ceive the farewells of their dying chief, who, after rehears- 
ing the great deeds he has done, declares he is about to 
close honorably an eventful career. When he has breathed 
his last, his followers push the corpse of the dragon off a 
cliff into the sea, and erect on the headland a funeral bar- 
row for Beowulf's ashes, placing within it part of the 
treasure he won, and erecting above it a memorial, or bauta 
stone, on which they carve the name and deeds of the great 
hero who saved them from Grendel and from the fiery 

So lamented mourning the men of the Geats, 
Pond-loving vassals the fall of their lord, 
Said he was kindest of kings under heaven. 
Gentlest of men, most winning of manner, 
Friendliest to folk-troops and fondest of honor. 


The Arthurian cycle consists in a number of epics or 
romances about King Arthur, the knights of his Round 
Table, or the ladies of his court. The Anglo-Norman 
trouveres arranged these tales in graduated circles around 
their nucleus, the legend of the Holy Grail. Next in im- 
portance to this saered theme, and forming the first circle, 
were the stories of Galahad and Percival who achieved the 
Holy Grail, of Launcelot and Blaine who were favored with 
partial ghmpses of it, and of Bors who accompanied Gala- 
had and Percival in their journey to Sarras. The second 
circle included the stories of Arthur and Guinevere, of 
Geraint and Enid, of Tristan and Isolde, of Pelleas and 
Ettarre, of Gareth and Lynette, of Gawain, and of Bede- 
vere. The third and last circle dealt with the epics of Mer- 
lin and Vivien, Uther and Igeme, Gorlois, and Vortigern. 

To give a complete outline of the adventures which be- 
fell all these knights and ladies in the course of seventeen 
epics and romances, — of which many versions exist, and to 


which each new poet added some episode, — ^would reqxiire 
far more space than any one volume would afford. A gen- 
eral outline will therefore be given of the two principal 
themes, the Quest of the Holy Grail and King Arthur and 
his Round Table, mentioning only the main features of the 
other epics as they impinge upon these two great centres. 

Some of the greatest writers of the Arthurian cycle have 
been Gildas, Nennius, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Wace, Robert 
de Borron, Marie de France, Layamon, Chrestien de Troyes, 
Benoit de St. Maur, Gaucher, Manessier, Gerbert, Knot de 
Provence, Wolfram von Eschenbach, Gottfried von Strass- 
burg, Hartmann von der Aue, Malory, Tennyson, Swin- 
burne, Howard Pyle, Matthew Arnold, and Wagner. Still, 
almost every writer of note has had something to say on the 
subject, and thus the Arthuriana has become almost as 
voluminous as the Shakespeariana. The legend of Arthur, 
almost unknown before the twelfth century, so rapidly be- 
came popular all over Europe, that it was translated into 
every language and recited with endless variations at count- 
less firesides. 

Robert de Borron is said to be mainly responsible for 
the tale of Merlin, the real poet of that name having been a 
bard at the court, first of Ambrosius Aurelianus and then 
of King Arthur. The Merlin of the romances is reported 
to have owed his birth to the commerce of a fiend with an 
unconscious nun. A priest, convinced of the woman's 
purity of intention, baptized her child as soon as bom, 
thus defeating the plots of Satan, who had hoped the son 
of a fiend would be able to outwit the plans of the Son of 
Man for human redemption. In early infancy, already, 
this Merlin showed his miraculous powers, for he testified 
in his mother's behalf when she was accused of incon- 

Meantime Constance, King of England, had left three 
sons, the eldest of whom, Constantine, had entered a mon- 
astery, while the two others were too young to reign. Drawn 
from his retirement to wear a crown, Constantine proved 
incapable to maintain order, so his general, Vortigem, with 


the aid of the Saxon leaders Hengist and Horsa, usurped 
his throne. Some time after, wishing to construct an 
impregnable fortress on Salisbury Plain, Vortigem sent 
for a host of masons, who were dismayed to see the work 
they had done during the day destroyed every night. 

On consulting an astrologer, Vortigem was directed to 
anoint the stones with the blood of a boy of five who had 
no human father. The only child corresponding to this 
description was Merlin, who saved himself from untimely 
death by telling the king that, if he dug down and drained 
the lake he would find, he would discover broad stones be- 
neath which slept two dragons by day, although they fought 
so fiercely at night that they caused the tremendous earth- 
quakes which shattered his walls. These directions were 
followed, the dragons were roused, and fought until the 
red one was slain and the two-headed white one disappeared. 
Asked to explain the meaning of these two dragons. Merlin 
— ^the uncanny child — declared the white dragon with two 
heads represented the two younger sons of King Constance, 
who were destined to drive Vortigem away. Having said 
this. Merlin disappeared, thus escaping the wrath of 
Vortigern, who wished to slay him. 

Soon after, the young princes surprised and burned 
Vortigem in his palace, and thus recovered possession of 
their father's throne. Then, one of them dying, the other, 
assuming both their names, became Uther Pendragon, king 
of Britain. Such was his bravery that during his reign of 
seven years he became overlord of all the petty kings who 
had meantime taken possession of various parts of England. 
He was aided in this work by his prime-minister, Merlin, 
whose skiU as a clairvoyant, magician, inventor, and 
artificer of all kinds of things — such as armor which noth- 
ing could damage, a magic mirror, round table, ring, and 
wonderful buildings — ^was of infinite service to his master 
and fired the imagination of all the poets. 

There are various accounts of Arthur's birth; according 
to one, Uther fell in love with Gorlois' wife Igerne, who 
■was already mother of three daughters. Thanks to Merlin 's 


magic arts, Uther was able to visit Igeme in the guise of her 
husband, and thus begot a son, who was entrusted to 
Merlin's care as soon as bom. Another legend declares 
that, after Gorlois' death, Uther Pendragon married Igerne, 
and that Arthur was their lawful child. Feeling he was 
about to die, and fearing lest his infant son should be made 
away with by the lords he had compelled to obedience, 
Uther Pendragon bade Merlin hide Arthur until he was 
old enough to reign over Britain. Merlin therefore secretly 
bore the babe, as soon as bom, to Sir Ector, who brought 
Arthur up in the belief he was the younger brother of his 
only son, Sir Kay. 

Arthur had just reached eighteen when the Archbishop 
of Canterbury besought Merlin to select an overlord who 
would reduce the other kings to obedience, and thus restore 
peace, law, and order in Britain. Thereupon Merlin prom- 
ised him a king would soon appear whose rights none would 
be able to dispute. Shortly after, on coming out of the 
cathedral one feast-day, the archbishop saw a huge block 
of stone, in which was imbedded an anvil, through which 
was thrust a beautiful sword. This weapon, moreover, bore 
an inscription, stating that he who pulled it out and thrust 
it back would be the rightful heir to the throne. 

Meantime a tournament had been proclaimed, and Sir 
Kay, having broken his sword while fighting, bade his 
brother Arthur get him another immediately. Unable to 
find any weapon in their tent, Arthi^r ran to the anvU, 
pulled out the sword, and gave it to Sir Kay. Seeing it in 
his son's hand, Sir Ector inquired how it had been obtained, 
and insisted upon Arthur's thrusting it back and taking it 
out repeatedly, before he would recognize him as his king. 
As none of the other lords could move the sword, and as 
Arthur repeatedly proved his claim to it on the great feast- 
days, he became overlord of all the petty kings. At Sir 
Ector's request he appointed Sir Kay as steward of his 
palace, and, thanks to the help of Merlin and of his brave 
knights, soon subdued the rebels, and became not only 
master of all England, but, if we are to believe the later 


romances, a sort of English: Alexander, who, after crossing 
the Alps, became Emperor of the World ! 

During his reign Arthur fought twelve memorable 
battles, and, not content with this activity, often rode out 
like other knights-errant in quest of adventure, challenging 
any one who wanted to fight, rescuing captives, and aiding 
damsels in distress. In these encounters Arthur wore the 
peerless armor made by Merlin, and sometimes carried a 
shield so brilliant that it blinded all who gazed upon it. 
It was, therefore, generally covered with a close-fitting case, 
which, like Arthur's helmet, bore as emblem a two-headed 
dragon. Having lost his divine sword in one encounter, 
Arthur was advised by Merlin to apply for another to 
Nimue, or Nymue, the Lady of the Lake. She immediately 
pointed out an arm, risiag from the middle of the lake, 
brandishing a magnificent sword. Springing into a skiff 
near by, Arthur was miraculously ferried to the centre of 
the lake, where, as soon as he touched the sword, the mystic 
arm disappeared. Merlin now informed Arthur that, fight- 
ing with Excalibure, his wonderful sword, he could never 
be conquered, and that as long as its scabbard hung by 
his side he could not be wounded. Later on in the story, 
Arthur, having incurred the anger of one of his step-sisters, 
Morgana the Fay, she borrowed Excalibure under pretext 
of admiring it, and had so exact a copy of it made that no 
one suspected she had kept the magic sword until Arthur 
was wounded and defeated. He, however, recovered posses- 
sion of Excalibure — ^if not of the scabbard — ^before he 
fought his last battle. 

Arthur was not only brave, but very romantic, for, 
Guinevere having bent over him once when he lay half un- 
conscious from a wound, he fell so deeply in love with her 
that he entered her father's service as garden boy. There 
Guinevere discovered his identity, and, guessing why he had 
come, teased him unmercifully. Shortly after, a neighbor- 
ing, very ill-favored king declared Guinevere's old father 
would be deprived of his kingdom unless she would consent 


to marry him, and defied in single combat any one who 
ventured to object to this arrangement. 

Arthur, having secretly provided himself with a white 
horse and armor, defeated this insolent suitor, and, after 
a few more thrilling adventures, arranged for his marriage 
to Guinevere in the fall. By Merlin's advice he also b^ged 
his future father-in-law to give him, as wedding present, 
the Round Table Merlin had made for Uther Pendragon. 
This was a magic board around which none but virtuous 
knights could sit. When led to a iseat, any worthy candidate 
beheld his name suddenly appear on its back, in golden 
letters, which vanished only at his death, or when he became 
unworthy to occupy a seat at the Round Table. Besides, 
on one side of Arthur's throne was the Siege Perilous, which 
none could occupy, under penalty of destruction, save the 
knight destined to achieve the Holy Grail. 

We are informed that Arthur sent his best friend and 
most accomplished knight, Launcelot, to escort Guinevere 
to Caerleon on Usk, where the wedding and first session of 
the Round Table were to take place on the self-same day. 
It seems that, when this Launcelot was a babe, his parents 
had to flee from a burning home. Overcome by sorrow and 
wounds, the poor father soon sank dying beside the road, 
and, while the mother was closing his eyes, the Lady of the 
Lake suddenly rose from her watery home, seized the babe, 
and plunged back with him into its depths. The widowed 
and bereft woman- therefore entered a convent, where she 
was known as the Lady of Sorrows, for little did she sus- 
pect her son was being trained by Pellias — ^husband of the 
Lady of the Lake — ^to become the most famous knight of 
the Round Table. At eighteen the Lady of the Lake de- 
cided it was time Launcelot should be knighted. So, on St. 
John's eve — when mortals can see fairies — ^Bong Arthur and 
Sir Ector were led, by a mysterious damsel and dwarf, to 
a place where Pellias and the Lady of the Lake begged them 
to knight their protege and pupil, who was henceforth to 
be known as Launcelot of the Lake. Not only did Arthur 


gladly bestow the accolade upon the young man, but he 
took him with him to Camelot. 

It was as supreme honor and mark of confidence that 
Arthur sent Launcelot to get Guinevere. Some legends 
claim these two already loved each other dearly, others that 
they fell in love during the journey, others still that their 
guilty passion was due to a love potion, and a few that 
Guinevere, incensed by the behavior of Arthur, — ^whora 
some of the epics do not depict as Tennyson's "blameless 
king," — proved faithless in revenge later on. All the 
versions, however, agree that Launcelot cherished an in- 
curable, guilty passion for Guinevere, and that she proved 
untrue to her marriage vows. Time and again we hear of 
stolen meetings, and of Launcelot 's deep sorrow at deceiving 
the noble friend whom he continues to love and admire. 
This is the only blemish in his character, while Guinevere is 
coquettish, passionate, unfeeling, and exacting, and has 
little to recommend her aside from grace, beauty, and per- 
sonal magnetism. At court she plays her part of queen 
and lady of the revels with consummate skill, and we have 
many descriptions of festivities of all kinds. During a 
maying party the queen was once kidnapped by a bold 
admirer and kept for a time in durance vile. Laixncelot, 
posting after her, ruthlessly cut down all who attempted 
to cheek him, and, his horse falling at last beneath him, 
continued his pursuit in a wood-chopper's cart, although 
none but criminals were seen in such a vehicle in the 
Middle Ages. The Knight of the Cart was, however, only in- 
tent upon rescuing the queen, who showed herself very un- 
grateful, for she often thereafter taunted him with this 
ride and laughed at the gibes the others lavished upon him. 
Twice Guinevere drove Launcelot mad with these taunts, 
and frequently she heartlessly sent him ofE on dangerous 

Launcelot, however, so surpassed all the knights in cour- 
age and daring that he won all the prizes in the tourna- 
ments. A brilliant series of these entertainments was given 
by the king, who, having found twelve large diamonds in 


the crown of a dead king, offered one of them as prize on 
each occasion. Launcelot, having secured all but the last, 
decided to attend the last tournament in disguise, after 
carefuUy informing king and queen he would not take part 
in the game. 

Pausing at the Castle of Astolat, he borrowed a blank 
shield, and left his own in the care of Elaine, daughter of 
his host, who, although he had not shown her any attention, 
had fallen deeply in love with him. As further disguise, 
Launcelot also wore the favor Elaine timidly offered, and 
visited the tournament escorted by her brother. Once more 
Launcelot bore down all rivals, but he was so sorely 
wounded in the last encounter that he rode off without tak- 
ing the prize. Elaine's brother, following him, conveyed 
him to a hermit's, where some poets claim Elaine nursed 
him back to health. Although there are two Elaines in 
Launcelot 's hfe, i.e., the daughter of Pelles (whom he is 
tricked into marrying and who bears bim Galahad) and 
the "lily maid of Astolat," — some of the later writers 
fancied there was only the latter. Accordiag to some ac- 
counts Launcelot lived happily with the first Elaine in the 
castle he had conquered, — Joyous Garde, — ^untal Queen 
Guinevere, consumed by jealousy, summoned them both to 
court. There she kept them apart, and so persecuted poor 
Elaine that she crept off to a convent, where she died, after 
bringing Galahad into the world and after predicting he 
would achieve the Holy Grail. 

The other Elaine, — as Tennyson so beautifully relates, 
a dying of unrequited love, bade her father and brothers 
send her corpse down the river in charge of a dumb boat- 
man. Everybody knows of the arrival of the funeral bai^e 
at court, of the reading of the letter in Elaine's dead hand, 
and of Launcelot 's sorrow over the suffering he had un- 
wittingly caused. 

Launcelot and Guinevere are not the only examples in 
the Arthurian Cycle of the love of a queen for her hus- 
band's friend, and of his overwhelming passion for the 


By Guatave Dore 


wife of his master. Another famovis couple, Tristram and 
Iseult,^ also claims our attention. 

The legend of Tristram was already known in the sixth 
century, and from that time until now has been periodically 
rewritten and embellished. Like most mediaeval legends, it 
begins with the hero 's birth, gives in detail the whole story 
of his life, and ends only when he is safely dead and buried ! 

The bare outline of the main events in Tristram's very 
adventurous career are the elopement of his mother, a sister 
of King Mark of Cornwall. Then, while mourning for her 
beloved, this lady dies in giving birth to her son, whom she 
names Tristram, or the sad one. 

Brought up by a faithful servant, — Gouvemail or Kur- 
venal, — Tristram learns to become a peerless hunter and 
musician. After describing sundry childish and youthful 
adventures in different lands, the various legends agree in 
bringing him to his uncle's court, just as a giant champion 
arrives from Ireland, claiming tribute in money and men 
unless some one can defeat him in battle. As neither Mark 
nor any of his subjects dare venture to face the challenger, 
Morolt, Tristram volunteers his services. The battle takes 
place on an island, and, after many blows have been given 
and received and the end has seemed doubtful, Tristram 
(who has been wounded by his opponent's poisoned lance) 
Mils him by a blow of his sword, a splinter of which remains 
embedded in the dead giant's skull. His corpse is then 
brought back to Ireland to receive sepulchre at the hands 
of Queen Iseult, who, in preparing the body for the grave 
finds the fragment of steel, which she treasures, thinking 
it may some day help her to find her champion's slayer and 
enable her to avenge his death. 

Meanwhile Tristram's wound does not heal, and, realiz- 
ing Queen Iseult alone will be able to cure him, he sails 
for Ireland, where he presents himself as the minstrel Tram- 
tris, and rewards the oare of the queen and her daughter — 
both bearing the name of Isenlt^by his fine music. 

On his return to Cornwall, Tristram, who has evidently 

* See the author's " Stories of the Wagner Operas." 


been impressed by Princess Iseult's beauty, sings her 
praises so enthusiastically that King Mark decides to pro- 
pose for her hand, and — advised by the jealous courtiers, 
who deem the expedition perilous in the extreme — selects 
Tristram as his ambassador. 

On landing in Ireland, Tristram notices ill-concealed 
excitement, and discovers that a dragon is causing such 
damage in the neighborhood that the king has promised his 
daughter's hand to the warrior who would slay the monster. 

Nothing daunted, Tristram sets out alone, and beards 
the dragon in his den to such good purpose that he kills 
him and carries off his tongue as a trophy. But, wounded 
in his encounter, Tristram soon sinks by the roadside un- 
conscious. The king's butler, who has been spying upon 
him and who deems him dead, now cuts off the dragon's 
head and lays it at the king's feet, claiming the promised 

Princess Iseult and her mother refuse, however, to be- 
lieve that this man — a notorious coward — ^has performed 
any such feat, and hasten out to the battle-field. There 
they find not only the headless dragon, but the unconscious 
Tristram, and the tongue which proves him the real victor. 
To nurse him back to health is no great task for these ladies, 
who, like many of the heroines of the mediaeval epics and 
romances, are skilled leeches and surgeons. 

One day, while guarding their patient's slumbers, the 
ladies idly examine his weapons, and make the momentous 
discovery that the bit of steel found in Morolt's head ex- 
actly fits a nick in Tristram's sword. 

Although both had sworn vengeance, they decide the ser- 
vice Tristram has just rendered them and their country 
more than counterbalances the rest, and therefore let him 
go unscathed. 

Fully restored to health, Tristram proves the butler had 
no right to Iseult's hand, and, instead of enforcing his own 
claim, makes King Mark's proposals known. Either be- 
cause such an alliance flatters their pride or because they 
dare not refuse, Iseult's parents accept in their daughter's 


name and prepare everything for her speedy departure. 
The queen, mshing to save her daughter from the curse of 
a loveless marriage, next brews a love-potion which she 
bids Brengwain — ^her daughter's maid and companion — ad- 
minister to King Mark and Iseult on their wedding night. 

During the trip across the Irish Channel, Tristram en- 
tertains Princess Iseult with songs and tales, until he be- 
comes so thirsty that he begs for a drink. By mistake the 
love-potion is brought, and, as Iseult graciously dips her 
lips in the cup before handing it to her entertainer, it comes 
to pass both partake of the magic draught, and thus become 
victims of a passion which naught can cure. Still, as their 
intentions remain perfectly honorable, they continue the 
journey to Cornwall, and, in spite of all he suffers, Tristram 
delivers the reluctant bride into his uncle's hands. 

Some legends claim that Iseult made her maid Breng- 
wain take her place by the king's side on their wedding 
night, and that, although the Irish princess dwelt in the 
palace at Cornwall, she never proved untrue to her lover 
Tristram. The romances now give us stolen interviews, 
temporary elopements, and hair-breadth escapes from all 
manner of dangers. Once, for instance, Iseult is summoned 
by her husband to appear before the judges and clear her- 
self from all suspicion of infidelity by taking a public oath 
in their presence. By Iseult 's directions, Tristram, dis- 
guised as a mendicant, carries her ashore from the boat, 
begging for a kiss as reward. This enables the queen to 
swear truthfully that she has never been embraced by any 
man save King Mark and the mendicant who carried her 
ashore ! 

Tristram — ^like Launcelot — deeply feels the baseness of 
his conduct toward his uncle and often tries to tear him- 
self away, but the spell of the magic potion is too powerful 
to break. Once remorse and shame actually drive him mad, 
and he roams around the country performing all manner of 
crazy deeds. 

He too, when restored to his senses, visits Arthur's court, 
ia admitted to the Round Table, and joins in the Quest for 


the Holy Grail, which, of course, he cannot achieve. Then 
he does marvels in the matter of hunting and fighting, and, 
having received another dangerous wound, wonders who 
besides Iseult of Cornwall can cure it ? It is then he hears 
for the first time of Iseult of Brittany (or of the White 
Hands), whose skill in such matters is proverbial, and, seek- 
ing her aid, is soon made whole. But meantime the phy- 
sician has fallen in love with her patient, and fancies her 
love is returned because every lay he sings is in praise of 

Her brother, discovering her innocent passion, reveals 
it to Tristram, who, through gratitude or to drive the re- 
membrance of his guilty passion out of his mind, finally 
marries her. But even marriage cannot make him forget 
Iseult of Cornwall. The time comes when, wounded beyond 
the power of his wife's skill to cure, Tristram sends for 
Iseult of Cornwall, who, either owing to treachery or to 
accident, arrives too late, and dies of grief on her lover's 

Some legends vary greatly in the manner of Tristram's 
death, for he is sometimes slain by King Mark, who is 
justly angry to find him in his wife's company. Most of 
the versions, however, declare that the lovers were buried 
side by side, and that creepers growing out of their re- 
spective graves twined lovingly around each other. 

Other beautiful episodes which are taken from old Welsh 
versions of the Arthurian legends are the stories of Geraint 
and Enid, of Pelleas and Ettarre, of Gareth and Lynette, 
which have received their latest and most beautiful setting 
at the hands of the poet-laureate Tennyson, and the very 
tragic and pathetic tale of the twin brothers Balin and 
Balan, who, after baleful happenings galore, failing to 
recognize each other, fight until one deals the "dolorous 
stroke" which kills his brother. 

Were any one patient enough to count the characters, 
duels, and hairbreadth escapes in Malory's Morte d 'Arthur, 
the sum might well appall a modem reader. Magic, too, 
plays a prominent part in the Arthurian cycle, where Mer- 


lin, by means of a magic ring given by the Lady of the 
Lake to her sister Vivien, becomes so infatuated with the 
latter lady, that she is able to coax from him all his secrets, 
and even to learn the spell whereby a mortal can be kept 
alive although hidden from all eyes. Having obtained the 
magic formula by bringing all her coquettish -wiles to bear 
upon besotted old Merlin, Vivien is said to have decoyed 
the wizard either to an enchanted castle, where she enclosed 
him in a stone sepulchre, or into the forest of Broceliande, 
in Brittany, where she left him, spellbound in a flowering 
thorn-bush. Another legend, however, claims that, having 
grown old and forgetful, Merlin absent-mindedly attempted 
to sit down in the Siege Perilous, only to be swallowed up 
by the yawning chasm which opened beneath his feet. 

It was at the height of Arthur's prosperity and fame 
that the knights of the Round Table solemnly pledged them- 
selves to undertake the Quest of the Holy Grail, as is 
described in the chapter on that subject. Their absence, 
the adultery of the queen, and the king's consciousness 
of past sins cast such a gloom over the once brilliant re- 
unions of Camelot and Caerleon, as well as over the whole 
land, that Arthur's foes became bolder, and troubles thick- 
ened in an ominous way. Finally, most of the knights re- 
turned from the Quest sadder and wiser men, Launeelot 
was banished by the king to Joyous Garde, and was there- 
fore not at hand when the last great fight occurred. Mor- 
dred, the Judas of the Arthurian cycle — whom some poets 
represent as the illegitimate and incestuous son of Arthur, 
while others merely make him a nephew of the king — ^rebels 
against Arthur, who engages in his last battle, near the 
Castle of Tintagel, where he was born. 

In this encounter all are slain on both sides, and Arthur, 
having finally killed the traitor Mordred, after receiving 
from him a grievous wound, finds no one near to help or 
sustain him save Sir Bedevere. Knowing his wonderful 
blade Excalibure must return to its donor ere he departs, 
Arthur thrice orders his henchman to cast it into the mere. 
Twice Sir Bedevere hides the sword instead of obeying, but 


the third time, having exactly carried out the royal orders, 
he reports having seen a hand rise out of the Lake, catch 
and brandish Excalibure, and vanish beneath the waters 
with it! Arthur is next carried by Sir Bedevere down to 
the water's edge, where a mysterious barge receives the 
almost dying king. In this barge are three black-veiled 
queens, — the king's step-sisters, — and, when Arthur's head 
has been tenderly laid in the lap of Morgana the Fay, he 
announces he is about to sail off to the Isle of Avalon "to 
be healed of his wound." Although the Isle of Avalon was 
evidently a poetical mediaeval version of the " bourne 
whence no man returns," people long watched for Arthur's 
home-coming, for he was a very real personage to readers 
of epics and romances in the Middle Ages. 

Guinevere — ^her sin having been discovered by her 
hitherto fabulously blind husband — took refuge in a nun- 
nery at Ahnesbury, where she received a farewell visit from 
Arthur and an assurance of his forgiveness, before he rode 
into his last fight. 

As for Launcelot, he, too, devoted his last days to penance 
and prayer in a monastery. There he remained until 
warned in a vision that Guinevere was dead. Leaving his 
cell, Launcelot hastened to Almesbury, where, finding 
Guinevere had ceased to breathe, he bore her corpse to 
Glastonbury — ^where according to some versions Arthur had 
been conveyed by the barge and buried — and there laid her 
to rest at her husband's feet. 

Then Launcelot again withdrew to his cell, where he died 
after six months' abstinence and prayer. It was his heir. 
Sir Ector, who feelingly pronounced the eulogy of the 
knight par excellence of the mediaeval legends in the follow- 
ing terms: " 'Ah, Sir Lancelot,' he said, 'thou were head 
of all Christian knights; and now I dare say,' said Sir 
Ector, 'that. Sir Lancelot, there thou liest, thou were never 
matched of none earthly knight's hands; and thou were 
the courtliest knight that ever bare shield ; and thou were 
the truest friend to thy lover that ever bestrode horse ; and 
thou were the truest lover of a sinful man that ever loved 


woman; and thou were the kmdest man that ever struck 
with sword ; and thou were the goodliest person that ever 
came among press of knights; and thou were the meekest 
man, and the gentlest, that ever ate in hall among ladies ; 
and thou were the sternest knight to thy mortal foe that 
ever put spear in rest. ' ' ' 


Among the most popular of the prose epics is the story 
of Robin Hood, compiled from some twoseore old English 
ballads, some of which date back at least to 1400. This 
material has recently been charmingly rfeworked by Howard 
Pyle, who has happily illustrated his own book. The bare 
outline of the tale is as follows : 

In the days of Henry II lived in Sherwood Forest the 
famous outlaw Robin Hood, with his band of sevenscore 
men. At eighteen years of age Robin left Locksley to 
attend a shooting-match in a neighboring town. While 
crossing the forest one of the royal gamekeepers tauntingly 
challenged him to prove his skill as a marksman by killing 
a deer just darting past them. But, when the unsuspecting 
youth brought down this quarry, the forester proposed to 
arrest him for violating the law. Robin, however, deftly 
escaped, and, when the keeper sent an arrow after him, 
retaliated by another, which, better aimed, killed one of 
the king's men! 

Although unwittingly guilty of murder, Robin, knowing 
his life was forfeit, took to the forest, where he became an 
outlaw. In vain the Sheriff of Nottingham tried to secure 
him: Robin always evaded capture at his hands. Still he 
did not remain in hiding, but frequently appeared among 
his feUow-men, none of whom would betray him, although 
the sheriff promised a reward of two hundred pounds for 
his capture. 

Once, while in quest of adventures, Robin met on a 
narrow bridge a stranger who refused to make way for 
him; Irritated by what he considered the man's insolence, 


Robin seized his quarter-staff, only to find that his an- 
tagonist more than matched him in the skilful use of this 
weapon. Then a misstep suddenly toppled Robin over into 
the stream, where he might have perished had not some 
of his men leaped out of the thicket to his rescue. Vexed 
at being beaten at quarter-staff, Robin now proposed a 
shooting-match, and, his good humor entirely restored by 
winning a victory in this contest, he promptly enrolled the 
stranger in his band. His merry companions, on learning 
the huge new-comer was John Little, ironically termed 
him Little John, by which name he became very famous. 

Baffled in his attempts to secure Robin and unable to 
find any one near there to serve a warrant upon him, the 
sheriff hired a Lincoln tinker, who, entering an inn, loudly 
boasted how cleverly he was going to accomplish his task. 
Among his listeners was the outlaw, who enticed the tinker 
to drink, and made him so drunk that he had no difficulty 
in stealing his warrant. 

The tinker, on awaking, was furious, and, coming face 
to face with Robin soon after, attacked him fiercely. Seeing 
his opponent was getting the better of him, Robin blew 
his horn, whereupon six of his men appeared to aid him. 
Awed by the sudden appearance of these men, — ^who were 
all clad in Lincoln green, — ^the tinker laid down his cudgel 
and humbly begged permission to join the band. 

The baffled sheriff now rode off to London to complain, 
but, when Henry heard one of his officers could not capture 
an outlaw, he indignantly bade him leave the court and 
not appear there again until he had secured Robin. Dis- 
mayed at having incurred royal displeasure, the sheriff 
concluded to accomplish by stratagem what he had failed 
to compass by force. He therefore proclaimed a shooting- 
match, and, feeling sure Robin would be among the com- 
petitors for the prize, posted a number of men to watch for 
and arrest him. These sleuths recognized all the contest- 
ants present, except a dark man, with a patch over one 
eye, who did not in the least resemble the fair-haired, hand- 
some Robin. Although one-eyed, the stranger easily bore 


away the prize, and, when the sheriff offered to take him 
iLto his service, curtly rejoined no man should ever be his 
master. But that evening, in a secret glade in Sherwood 
Forest, Robin gleefully exhibited to his followers the golden 
arrow he had won, and, doffing his patch, remarked that 
the walnut stain, which had transformed a fair man into a 
dark one, would soon wear off. 

Still, not satisfied with outwitting the sheriff, Robin, 
anxious to apprise him of the fact, wrote a message on an 
arrow, which he boldly shot into the hall where his enemy 
was seated at a banquet. Enraged by this impudence, the 
sheriff sent out three hundred men to scour the forest, and 
Robin and his men were forced to hide. 

Weary of inlaction, Robin finally bade Will Stutely re- 
eonnoiter, report what the sheriff was doing, and see whether 
it would be safe for him and his men to venture out. 
Garbed as a monk. Will Stutely sought the nearest iim, 
where he was quietly seated when some of the sheriff's 
men came in. The outlaw was listening intently to their 
plans when a cat, rubbing against him, pushed aside his 
frock, and thus allowed the constable a glimpse of Lincoln 
green beneath its folds. To arrest the outlaw was but the 
matter of a moment, and Will Stutely was led off to prison 
and execution, while a friendly bar-maid hastened off se- 
cretly to the forest to warn Robin of his friend's peril. 

Determined to save Will from the gallows at any risk, 
Robin immediately set out with four of his best men and 
let them mingle among the people assembled near the gal- 
lows. Although disguised, the outlaws were immediately 
recognized by Will when he arrived with the sheriff. Press- 
ing forward as if to obtain a better view of the execution, 
the outlaws contrived to annoy their neighbors so sorely 
that a fight ensued, and, in the midst of the confusion. Little 
John, slipping close up to the prisoner, cut his bonds, 
knocked down the sheriff, and escaped with all the band! 

Life in the forest sometimes proved too monotonous to 
suit Robin, who once purchased from a butcher his horse, 
cart, and meat, and drove off boldly to Nottingham Fair. 


There he lustily cried Ms wares, atmouneing churchmen 
would have to pay double, aldermen cost price, housewives 
less, and pretty girls nothing save a kiss! The merry 
vender's methods of trading soon attracted so many female 
customers that the other butchers became angry, but, deem- 
ing Kobin a mere simpleton, invited him to a banquet, where 
they determined to take advantage of him. 

The sheriff — ^who was present — blandly inquired of the 
butcher whether he had any cattle for sale, and arranged 
to meet him in the forest and pay 300 crowns in cash for 
500 homed heads. But, when the gullible sheriff reached 
the tiysting-spot, he was borne captive to Robin's camp, 
where the chief, mockingly pointing out the king's deer, 
bade him take possession of five hundred horned heads! 
Then he invited the sheriff to witness games exhibiting the 
outlaws' strength and skill, and, after relieving him of his 
money, allowed him to depart unharmed. 

More determined than ever to obtain revenge, the 
sheriff again proclaimed an archery contest, which Robin 
shunned. Little John, however, put in an appearance, 
won all the prizes, and even accepted the sheriff's offer 
to serve him. But, living on the fat of the land in the 
sheriff's household. Little John grew fat and lazy, quar- 
relled with the other servants, and finally departed with 
his master's cook and his silver! 

Robin, although delighted to acquire a new follower, 
hotly reiriled his companion for stealing the silver, where- 
upon Little John declared the sheriff had given it to him 
and volunteered to produce him to confirm his words. He 
therefore set out, and waylaid his late employer, who, 
thinking himself under the protection of one of his own 
men, innocently followed him to the outlaws' camp. When 
brought thus suddenly face to face with Robin, the sheriff 
expected to be robbed or killed, but, after ascertaining the 
silver was not a free gift, Robin gave it back to him and 
let him go. 

Angry because Robin often twitted him with his stout- 
ness, Little John once wandered off by himself in the forest, 


and meeting Arthur a Bland challenged him to fight, little 
suspecting Robin was watching them from a neighboring 
thicket. From this hiding-place the chief of the outlaws 
witnessed Little John's defeat, and, popping out as soon as 
the fight was over, invited Arthur a Bland to join his band. 
The three men next continued their walk, until they met a 
' ' rose-leaf, whipped-cream" youth, ' ' of whose modish attire 
and effeminate manners they made unmerciful fun. Boast- 
fully informing his two companions he was going to show 
them how a quarter-staff should be handled, Robin chal- 
lenged the stranger, who, suddenly dropping his affected 
manners, snatched a stake from the hedge and proceeded 
to outfence Robin. In his turn Little John had a chance 
to laugh at his leader's discomfiture, and Robin, on learning 
his antagonist was his nephew (who had taken refuge in 
the forest because he had accidentally killed a man), in- 
vited him to join his merry men. 

Soon after Little John was despatched for food, 
and the outlaws were enjoying a jolly meal "under the 
greenwood tree," when a miller came trudging along with 
a heavy bag of flour. Crowding around him, the outlaws 
demanded his money, and, when he exhibited an empty 
purse, Robin suggested his money was probably hidden in 
the meal and sternly ordered him to produce it without 
delay, i&rumbling about his loss, the miller opened his sack, 
began to fumble in the meal, and, when all the outlaws were 
bending anxiously over it, flung a double handful of flour 
right into their eyes, thus blinding them temporarily. Had 
not other outlaws now rushed out of the thicket, the miller 
would doubtless have effected his escape, but the new 
arrivals held him fast until Robin, charmed with his ready 
wit, invited him to become an outlaw too. 

Some time after this, Robin, Will Scarlet, and Little 
John discovered the minstrel Allan a Dale weeping in the 
forest because his sweetheart, fair Ellen, was compelled by 
her father to marry a rich old squire. Hearing this tale 
and sympathizing with the lovers, Robin engaged to unite 
them, provided he could secure a priest to tie the knot. 


When told Friar Tuck would surely oblige him, Robia 
started out in quest of him, and, finding him under a tree, 
feasting alone and toasting himself, he joined in his merry 
meal. Then, under the pretext of saving his fine clothes 
from a wetting, Eobin persuaded the friar to carry him 
pick-a-back across a stream. While doing so, the friar 
stole Eobin 's sword, and refused to give it back unless 
the outlaw carried him back. Following Friar Tuck's ex- 
ample, Eobin slyly purloined something from him, and 
exacted a new ride across the river, during which Friar 
Tuck tumbled him over into the water. Robin, who had 
hitherto taken his companion's pleasantries good-naturedly, 
got angry and began a fight, but soon, feeling he was about 
to be worsted, he loudly summoned his men. Friar Tuck 
in return whistled for his dogs, which proved quite formid- 
able enough opponents to induce the outlaws to beg for a 

Eobin now secured Friar Tuck to celebrate Allan's 
marriage and laid clever plans to rescue Ellen from an 
unwelcome bridegroom. So aU proceeded secretly or openly 
to the church where the marriage was to take place. Pre- 
tending to be versed in magic, Eobin swore to the 
ecclesiastics present that, if they would only give him the 
jewels they wore, he would guarantee the bride should love 
the bridegroom. Just as the reluctant Ellen was about to 
be united to the rich old squire by these churchmen, Robin 
interfered, and (the angry bridegroom having flounced out 
of church), bribed the father to allow Friar Tuck to unite 
Ellen and Allan a Dale. Because the bride undoubtedly 
loved her spouse, Robin claimed the jewels promised him, 
and bestowed them upon the happy couple, who adopted 
Sherwood Forest for their home. 

Weary of the same company, Robin once despatched his 
men into the forest with orders to arrest any one they met 
and bring him to their nightly banquet. Robin himself 
sallied out too, and soon met a dejected knight, who de- 
clared he felt too sad to contribute to the outlaw's amuse- 
ment. When Robin questioned him in regard to his de- 


jection, Sir Richard of the Lee explained that his son, hav- 
ing accidentally wounded his opponent in a tournament, 
had been obliged to pay a fine of £600 in gold and make 
a pilgrimage to Palestine. To raise the money for the fine, 
the father had mortgaged his estates, and was now about 
to be despoiled of them by the avaricious prior of Emmet, 
who demanded an immediate payment of £400 or the estate. 

Robin, ever ready to help the poor and sorrowful, bade 
the knight cheer up and promised to discover some way 
to raise the £400. Meantime Little John and Friar 
Tuck — ^who had joined Robin's band — caught the Bishop 
of Hereford, travelling through the forest with a train of 
pack horses, one of which was laden with an iron-bound 
chest. After entertaining these forced guests at dinner, 
Robin had them witness his archers' skill and listen to 
Allan a Dale's music, ere he set forth the knight's predica/- 
ment and appealed to the bishop to lend him the necessary 
money. When the bishop loudly protested he would do so 
gladly had he funds, Robin ordered his baggage examined 
and divided into three equal shares, one for the owner, 
one for his men, and one for the poor. 

Such was the value of the third set aside for the poor 
that Robin could lend Sir Richard £500. Armed with 
this money — ^which he promised to repay within a year 
— Sir Richard presented himself before the prior of Emmet, 
who had hired the sheriff and a lawyer to help him despoil 
the knight with some show of law and justice. It was 
therefore before an august board of three villains that Sir 
Richard knelt begging for time wherein to pay his debt. 
Virtuously protesting he would gladly remit a himdred 
pounds for prompt payment— so great was his need of 
money— the prior refused to wait, and his claim was duly 
upheld by lawyer and sheriff. Relinquishing his humble 
position. Sir Richard then defiantly produced 300 pounds, 
which he forced the prior to accept in full payment ! Soon 
after, the happy knight was able to repay Robin's loan, 
and gratefully bestowed fine bows and arrows on all the 


Little John, garbed as a friar, once set out for a neigh- 
boring fair, and, meeting three pretty girls with baskets 
of eggs, gallantly offered to carry their loads. When merrily 
challenged to carry all three. Little John cleverly slung 
one basket around his neck by means of his rosary, and 
marched merrily along carrying the two others and singing 
at the top of his lungs, while one of the girls beat time with 
his staff. 

On approaching town. Little John restored the baskets 
to their owners, and, assuming a sanctimonious bearing, 
joined two brothers of Fountains Abbey, whom he implored 
to give him a little money. Because they turned a deaf 
ear to his request. Little John went with them, acting so 
strangely that he annoyed them sorely. Seeing this, he 
declared he would leave them if they would only give him 
two pennies, whereupon they rejoined they had no more 
than that for their own needs. Crying he would perform 
a miracle. Little John plumped down upon his big knees 
in the middle of the road and loudly intreated St. Dunstan 
to put money iu their purses. Then jumping up, he seized 
their bags, vowing that anything above a penny was clearly 
his, since it was obtained through his prayers ! 

Eobin, longing for a little variety, once met a beggar 
with whom he exchanged garments. Soon after, meeting 
four other mendicants, Robin joined them, and having 
gotten into a quarrel with them had the satisfaction of 
routing all four. A little later he met an usurer, whom 
he gradually induced to reveal the fact that he had never 
lost his money because he always carried his fortune iu the 
thick soles of his shoes. Of course Robin immediately com- 
pelled the usurer to remove his foot-gear, and sent him 
home barefoot, while he rejoined his men and amused them 
with a detailed account of the day's adventures. 

Queen Eleanor, having heard endless merry tales about 
Robin Hood, became very anxious to meet him, and finally 
sent one of her pages to Sherwood Forest to inform Robin 
the king had wagered his archers would win all the prizes 
in the royal shooting-match. Because she had wagered the 


contrary, she promised Robin a safe-conduct for himself 
and his men if he would only come to court and display 
his skill. 

Choosing Will Scarlet, Little John, and Allan a Dale 
as his companions, Robin attended the tournament and won 
all the prizes, to the great disgust of the king, the sheriff, 
and the Bishop of Hereford, which latter recognized the 
hated outlaw. On discovering the king would not respect 
the safe-conduct she had given Robin, Eleanor sent him 
word: "The lion growls; beware of thy head." This hint 
was suflScient to make Robin leave immediately, bidding his 
companions reenter the forest by different roads and re- 
serving the most difficult for himself. 

Although Robin's men reached the forest safely, he him- 
self was hotly pursued by the sheriff's and bishop's troops. 
Once, when they were so close on his heels that it seemed 
impossible for him to escape, Robin exchanged garments 
with a cobbler, who was promptly arrested in his stead and 
borne off to prison. Such was Robin's exhaustion by this 
time that he entered an inn, and, creeping into bed, slept 
so soundly that only on awaking on the morrow did he 
discover he had shared his bed with a monk. Slyly sub- 
stituting the cobbler's garments for those of the sleeping 
monk, Robin peacefully departed, while the sheriff's men, 
having discovered their mistake, proceeded to arrest the 
false cobbler ! Meantime the Queen succeeded iu softening 
the king's resentment, so Robin was allowed to rejoin his 
companions, and his sweetheart, Maid Marian, who could 
shoot nearly as well as he. 

Many years now elapsed, during which King Henry 
died and King Richard came to the throne. Robin, still 
pursued by the sheriff, once discovered in the forest a man 
clad in horse-skin, who, having been an outlaw too, had been 
promised his pardon if he would slay Robin. Hearing him 
boast about what he would do, Robin challenged him first 
to a trial of marksmanship, and then to a bout of sword 
play, during which the strange outlaw was slain. Then, 


donning the fallen man's strange apparel, Eobin went oflf 
to Nottingham in quest of more adventures. 

Meantime, Little John had entered a poor hut, where he 
found a woman weeping because her sons had been seized 
as poachers and sentenced to be hanged. Touched by her 
grief. Little John promised to rescue them if she would 
only supply him with a disguise. Dressed in a suit which 
had belonged to the woman's husband, he entered Not- 
tingham just as the sheriff was escorting his captives to 
the gallows. No hangman being available, the sheriff gladly 
hired the stranger to perform that office. While ostensibly 
fastening nooses around the three lads' necks. Little John 
cleverly whispered directions whereby to escape. This part 
of his duty done. Little John strung his bow, arguing it 
would be a humane act to shorten their agony by a well- 
directed shaft. But, as soon as his bow was properly strung, 
Little John gave the agreed signal, and the three youths 
scampered off, he covering their retreat by threatening to 
kill any one who attempted to pursue them. 

The angry sheriff, on perceiving Robin, who just then 
appeared, deeming bim the man he sent into the forest, 
demanded some token that he had done his duty. In reply 
Robin silently exhibited his own sword, bugle, and bow, 
and pointed to his blood-stained clothes. The officers hav- 
ing meantime captured Little John, the sheriff allowed 
Robin — as a reward — to hang his companion. By means 
of the same stratagem as Little John employed for the 
rescue of the youths, Robin saved his beloved mate, and, 
when the sheriff started to pursue them, blew such a blast 
on his horn that the terrified official galloped away, one 
of Robin's arrows sticking in his back. 

Two months after, there was great excitement in Not- 
tingham, because King Richard was to ride through the 
town. The gay procession of knights, pages, and soldiers 
was viewed with delight by all the people, among whom 
Robin's outlaws were thickly dotted. Riding beside the 
king, the Sheriff of Nottingham paled on recognizing in 
the crowd Robin himself, a change of color which did not 


escape Richard's eagle eye. When the conversation turned 
upon the famous outlaw at the banquet that evening, and 
sheriff and bishop bitterly declared Robia could not be cap- 
tured, Richard exclaimed he would gladly give a hundred 
pounds for a glimpse of so extraordinary a man ! There- 
upon one of the guests rejoined he could easily obtain it 
by entering the forest in a monk's garb, a suggestion which 
so charmed the Lion-hearted monarch that he started out 
on the morrow with seven cowled men. They had not ridden 
far into the forest before they were arrested by a man in 
Lincoln green — ^Robin himself — ^who conducted them to the 
outlaw's lair. 

As usual, the chance guests were entertained with a 
feast of venison and athletic games, in the course of which 
Robin declared he would test the skiU of his men, and that 
aJl who missed the bull's-eye should be punished by a 
buffet from Little John's mighty fist. Strange to relate, 
eveiy man failed and was floored by Little John's blow, 
the rest roaring merrily over his discomfiture. All his 
men having tried and failed, Robin was asked to display 
his own skill for the stranger's benefit, and, when he too 
shot at random, all loudly clamored he must be punished 
too. Hoping to escape so severe a blow as Little John 
dealt, Robin declared it was not fitting a chief should be 
struck by his men, and offered to take his punishment at 
his guest's hands. Richard, not sorry to take his revenge, 
now bared a niuscular arm, and hit poor Robin so heartily 
that the outlaw measured his fuU length on the ground 
and lay there some time wondering what had occurred. 

Just then Sir Richard's son rushed into the outlaw's 
camp, breathlessly crying the king had left Nottingham and 
was scouring the forest to arrest them. Throwing back his 
cowl Richard sternly demanded how one of his nobles dared 
reveal his plans to his foes, whereupon the young knight, 
kneeling before his monarch, explained how Robin had saved 
his father from ruin. 

Richard, whose anger was a mere pretence, now in- 
formed Robin he should no longer be persecuted, and pro- 


posed that he, Little John, Will Scarlet, and Allan a Dale 
should enter his service. The rest of the outlaws were 
appointed game-keepers in the royal forests, a life which 
suited them admirably. 

After spending the night in the camp of the outlaws, 
Richard rode away with his new followers, and we are told 
Robin Hood served him to such good purpose that he soon 
earned the title of Earl of Huntington. Shortly after 
Richard's death, Robin, seized with a longing for the 
wild free life of his youth, revisited Sherwood Forest, 
where the first blast of his huntiag-hom gathered a score 
of his old followers about him. Falling at his feet and 
kissing his hands, they so fervently besought him never 
to leave them again that Robin promised to remain in the 
forest, and did so, although King John sent for him sundry 
times and finally ordered the sheriff to arrest him. 

By this time Robiu was no longer a yoiing man, so life 
in the open no longer proved as delightful as of yore. 
Seized with a fever which he could not shake off, Robin 
finally dragged himself to the priory of Kirk Lee, where 
he besought the prioress to bleed him. Either because she 
was afraid to defy the king or because she owed Robin a 
personal grudge, this lady opened an artery instead of a 
vein, and, locking the door of his room, left him there to 
bleed to death. The iinsuspecting Robin patiently awaited 
her return, and, when he finally realized his plight and 
tried to summon aid, he was able to blow only the faintest 
call upon his horn. This proved enough, however, to sum- 
mon Little John, who was lurking in the forest near by, 
for he dashed toward the priory, broke open the door, and 
forced his way into the turret-chamber, where he found 
poor Robin nearly gone. 

At his cries, the prioress hastened to check the bleeding 
of Robin's wound, but too late! Faintly whispering he 
would never hunt in the forest again, Robin begged Little 
John string his bow, and raise him up so he could shoot 
a last arrow out of the narrow window, adding that he 
wished to be buried where that arrow fell. Placing the 


bow in Robin's hand, Jjittle John supported his dying 
master while he sent his last arrow to the foot of a mighty 
oak, and "something sped from that body as the winged 
arrow sped from the bow," for it was only a corpse Little 
John laid down on the bed ! 

At dawn on the morrow six outlaws bore their dead 
leader to a grave they had dug beneath the oak, above 
which was a stone which bore this inscription : 

Here underneath this little stone 
Lies Robin, Earl of Huntington, 
None there was as he so good. 
And people called him Robin Hood. 
Such outlaws as he and his men 
Will England never see again. 

Died December 24th, 1247. 


Edmund Spenser, who was born in London in 1552 
and lived at Dublin as clerk to the court of Chancery, there 
wrote the Faerie Queene, of which the first part was pub- 
lished in 1589 and dedicated to Elizabeth. In this poem he 
purposed to depict the twelve moral virtues in twelve suc- 
cessive books, each containing twelve cantos, written in 
stanzas of eight short lines and one long one. But he com- 
pleted only six books of his poem in the course of six years. 

The Faerie Queene is not only an epic but a double a)i>'Jtl<^ 
allegory, for many of the characters represent both abstract {^liftf^T^ 
virtues and tl^e noted people of Spenser's time. For in- 
stance, the poem opens with a description of the court of 
Gloriana, — ^who impersonates Elizabeth and is the champion 
of Protestantism. As queen of the fairy realm she holds 
annual festivals, in one of which the young peasant Georges 
enters her haU. He kneels before her so humbly yet so 
courteously that, notwithstanding his rustic garb, she per- 
ceives he must be of noble birth. When he, therefore, 
craves as a boon the next adventure, Gloriana grants his 
request, on condition that he will serve her afterward for 
six years. 


Shortly after, a beautiful lady, garbed in white but 
enveloped in a black mantle, rides up to court on a snow- 
white ass, leading a wooUy lamb. She is followed by a 
dwarf, who conducts a war-steed, on which are piled all 
the arms of a knight. On approaching Gloriana, Una — the 
personification of Truth — explains that her royal parents 
are besieged in their capital by a dragon, which has slain 
aU the warriors who have ventured to attack him. 

On hearing Una beg for aid, Georgos eagerly steps 
forward to claim the task. Ill pleased to be given a peasant 
instead of the knight she was seeking, Una coldly bids 
Georgos — ^the personification of Holiness — ^try on the armor 
she has brought, adding that, unless it fits him exactly, 
he need not expect to triumph. But no sooner has the 
youth donned the armor which the dwarf produces than 
all recognize with wonder it must have been made for 
him, and Gloriana publicly dubs him "Knight of the Eed 
Cross," because the armor Una brought bears that device. 

Vaulting on his war-steed, Georgos now rides off with 
Una and the dwarf, and after crossing a wilderness enters 
a forest, where before long he descries the mouth of a cave, 
into which he feels impelled to enter. No sooner has he 
done so than he encounters a dragon, — ^the personification 
of Heresy and Error, — ^which attacks him with fury. A 
frightful battle ensues, in the course of which the Eed 
Cross Knight is about to be worsted, when Una's encour- 
agements so stimulate him that he slays the monster. 

On seeing the exhaustion of her companion, Una realizes 
he wiU require rest before undertaking further adventures, 
and therefore eagerly accepts an invitation tendered by a 
venerable old hermit who meets them. He leads them to 
his cell, where, after entertaining them all evening by 
pious eonvereation, he dismisses them to seek rest. His 
guests have no sooner vanished than the hermit, Archimago, 
— a personification of Hypocrisy, — casts aside his disguise, 
and summons two demons, one of whom he despatches to 
Hades to fetch a dream from the cave of Morpheus. This 
dream is to whisper to the sleeping Red Cross Knight that 


Una is not as innocent as she seems, while the other demon, 
transformed into her very semblance, is to delude the 
knight on awakening into believing his companion beneath 
contempt. This plot is duly carried out, and the Red 
Cross Knight shocked by the behavior of the sham Una 
departs immediately, bidding the dwarf follow him. Rid- 
ing along in a state of extreme disgust and irritation, the 
Red Cross Knight soon encounters S ansfoi ,— Faithlessness , 
— accompanied by a lady clad in red, who is Duessa, — a per- 
sonification of Mary Queen of Scots, and also of false- 
hood and popery. The two knights immediately run 
against each other, and, when Georgos has slain his oppo- 
nent, the lady beseeches him to spare her life, exclaiming 
her name is Fidessa and that she is only too glad to be saved 
from the cruel Sansfoi. Deluded by her words and looks, 
the Red Cross Knight invites her to accompany him, prom- 
ising to defend her from her foes. 

They are riding along together amicably, when the 
knight plucks a blossoming twig to weave a garland for 
his companion, and is dismayed to see blood trickle from 
the broken stem. Questioning the tree from whence the 
branch was taken, Georgos learns that a knight and his 
wife have been transformed into plants by Duessa, who 
does not wish them to escape from her thraldom. During 
this explanation, Georgos fails to notice that the lady in 
red trembles for fear her victims may recognize her, nor 
does he mark her relief when she perceives her present 
disguise is so effective that no one suspects she worked 
this baleful transformation. 

Riding on once more, the Red Cross Knight and his 
companion next draw near to a glittering castle, whose 
stones seem covered with gold. Fidessa, who is familiar 
with this place, invites the knight to enter there with her ; 
and Georgos, unaware of the fact that this is the stronghold 
of Pride, not only consents, but pays respectful homage to 
the mistress of the castle. Queen Lucifera, whose attend- 
ants are Idleness, Gluttony, Lechery, Envy, Avarice, and 
Wrath. It is while sojourning in this castle that the Red 



Cross Knight one day sees Sansjoi (Joyless) snatch from his 
dwarf the shield won from Sansfoi. Angered by this deed 
of violence, Georgos draws his sword, and he would have 
decided the question of ownership then and there had not 
Lueifera decreed he and his opponent should settle their 
quarrel in the lists on the morrow. During the ensuing 
night, Duessa secretly informs Sansjoi that the Eed Cross 
Knight is his brother's slayer and promises that, should 
he defeat his opponent, she wiU belong to him forever. 
On the morrow, in the midst of much feudal pomp, the 
chivalrous duel takes place, and — although Duessa, fancy- 
ing Sansjoi is about to win, loudly cheers him — ^the Eed 
Cross Knight finally triumphs. Planting his foot upon his 
foe, Georgos would have ended Sansjoi 's life had not Duessa 
enveloped her proteg6 in a cloud dense enough to hide him 
from his conqueror. After vainly seeking some trace of 
his vanished opponent, the Bed Cross Knight is proclaimed 
victor, and goes back to the castle to nurse the wounds he 
has received. 

Meanwhile Duessa steals into the deserted lists, removes 
the pall of cloud which envelops Sansjoi, and tenderly 
confides him to the Queen of Night, who bears him down 
to Hades, where Aesculapius heals his wounds. His victor, 
the Red Cross Knight, has not entirely recovered from this 
duel, when the dwarf rushes into his presence to report 
that while prowling around the castle he discovered a fright- 
ful dungeon, where men and women are imprisoned. When 
he declares they are sojourning in a wicked place, the Red 
Cross Knight springs out of bed and, helped by his attend- 
ant, hastens away from a spot which now inspires him with 
unspeakable horror. 

They have barely issued from the castle walls before 
Georgos realizes he has been the victim of some baleful 
spell, for he now perceives that the building rests on a 
sand foundation and is tottering to its fall, while the 
pomp which so dazzled him at first is merely outside show 
and delusion. He is not aware, however, that Fidessa has 
beguiled him, since he openly regrets she is not present 


to escape with him, and he again bewails the fact that Una 
was not as pure as his fancy painted ! 

Meanwhile, returning to the castle to rejoin her victim, 
t)uessa finds the Red Cross Knight gone, spurs after him, 
and on overtaking him gently reproaches him for abandon- 
ing her in such a place ! Then she entices him to rest by a 
fountain, whose bewitched waters deprive the drinker of 
aU strength. She herself offers Georgos a draught from 
this fountain, and, after he has drunk thereof, the giant 
Orgolio spurs out of the forest and, attacking him with a 
mighty club, lays him low and bears him off to his dungeon, 
to torture him the rest of his life. Meantime Duessa humbly 
follows the giant, promising him her love, while the dwarf, 
who has watched the encounter from afar, sorrowfully col- 
lects his master's armor and, piling it hastily on his steed, 
rides off in quest of help. 

Meanwhile the real Una, on awakening in the hermitage 
to learn that the Red Cross Knight and the dwarf have 
gone, rides after them as fast as her little white ass can 
trot. Of course her attempt to overtake her companions 
is vain, and after travelling a long distance she dismounts 
in a forest to rest. Suddenly she is almost paralyzed with 
fear, for a roaring lion bursts through the thicket to devour 
her. Still, in fairy-land wild beasts cannot harm kings' 
daughters, provided they are pure, so the .lion — ^the per- 
sonification of CburageT-not only spares Una, but humbly 
licks her feet, and accompanies her as watch-dog when she 
resumes her journey. They two soon reach the house of 
Superstition, an old woman, whose daughter. Stupidity, 
loves a" robber of churches. When this lover attempts to 
visit her secretly by night, he is slain by the lion ; where- 
upon the two women angrily banish Una. She is therefore 
again wandering aimlessly in the forest when Archimago 
meets her in the guise of the Red Cross Knight, for he 
wishes her to believe he is her missing champion. On per- 
ceiving the lion, however, the magician approaches Una 
cautiously, but the fair maiden, suspecting no fraud, joy- 


fully runs to meet Mm, declaring she has missed him 

They two have not proceeded far before they encounter 
Sansloi,—Lawlessness,:— brother of the two knights with 
whom Georgos recently fought. Anxious to avenge their 
death, this new-comer boldly charges at the wearer of the 
Red Cross. Although terrified at the mere thought of an 
encounter, Arehimago is forced to lower his lance in self- 
defence, but, as he is no expert, he is overthrown at the 
first blow. Springing down from his steed, Sansloi sets 
his foot upon his fallen foe and tries to remove his helmet 
so as to deal him a deadly blow. But no sooner does he 
behold the crafty lineaments of Arehimago in place of those 
of the Red Cross EJiight, than he contemptuously abandons 
his opponent to recover his senses at leisure, and starts 
off in pursuit of Una, whose beauty has charmed his lustful 

In a vain endeavor to protect his mistress, the lion 
next loses his life, and Sansloi, plucking the shrieking Una 
from her ass, flings her across his palfrey and rides off into 
the forest, followed by the little steed, which is too faith- 
ful to forsake its mistress. On arriving in the depths of 
the forest, Sansloi dismounts, but Una's cries attract a 
company of fauns and satyrs, whose uncanny faces inspire 
Sansloi with such terror that he flees, leaving his captive in 
their power. Notwithstanding their strange appearance, 
these wild men are essentially chivalrous, for they speedily 
assure Una no harm shall befall her in their company. In 
return she instructs them in regard to virtue and truth, 
until Sir Satyrane appears, who generously volunteers to 
go with her in search of the Red Cross Knight. 

Those two have not ridden far together before they en- 
counter a pilgrim, who reports the Red Cross Knight has 
just been slain in a combat by a knight who is now quench- 
ing his thirst at a neighboring fountain. Following this 
pilgrim's directions. Sir Satyrane soon overtakes the re- 
ported slayer of Georgos, and while they two struggle to- 
gether, the terrified Una flees into the forest, closely pur- 


sued by the pilgrim, Archimago ia a new disguise. Mean- 
time the fight continues until Sansloi, severely wounded, 
beats a retreat, leaving Sir Satyrane too injured to follow 
Una. She, however, has meantime overtaken her dwarf, 
and learned from him that the Eed Cross Knight is a pris- 
oner of Orgolio. Thereupon she vows not to rest until she 
has rescued her companion. She and her dwarf are hasten- 
ing in the direction in which the giant vanished with his 
victim, when they meet.£iiac£LiiXthjUf, — a personification 
of JLeicester and of Chivalry,; — who, although he has never 
yet seen the Fairy Queen, is so deeply in love with her 
that he does battle in her name whenever he can. This 
prince is incased in a magic armor, made by Merlin, and 
bears a shield fashioned from a single diamond, whose 
brightness is so dazzling that it has to be kept covered, so 
as not to blind all beholders. 

After courteously greeting Una, the prince, hearing her 
tale of woe, volunteers to accompany her and free the Eed 
Cross Knight. When they reach the castle of Orgolio, — 
Spiritu al Pride, — ^Arthur and his squire boldly summon the 
owner to come out and fight. No answer is at first vouch- 
safed them, but after a blast from Arthur's magic bugle the 
gates burst open, and out of the stronghold rushes a seven- 
headed dragon, bearing on its back the witch Duessa. This 
monster is closely followed by the giant Orgolio, who en- 
gages in fight with Prince Arthur, while the squire, Timias, 
directs his efforts against the seven-headed beast. Although 
the prince and his attendant finally overcome these terrible 
foes, their triumph is due to the fact that in the midst of 
the fray Prince Arthur's shield is accidentally uncovered 
and its brightness queUs both giant and beast. But no 
sooner are the fallen pierced with the victors' swords than 
they shrink to nothing, for they are mere wind-bags, or 
delusions of Archimago 's devising. 

On seeing the triumph won by her champions, Una con- 
gratulates them, and bids the squire pursue Duessa, who 
is now trying to escape. Thus enjoined, Timias seizes the 
witch, and, in obedience to Una's orders, strips her of her 


fine clothes and sends her forth in her original loathsome 
shape. Meantime Una and the prince boldly penetrate 
into the castle, and, passing hurriedly through rooms over- 
flowing with treasures, reach a squalid dungeon, where 
they discover the Ked Cross Knight almost starved to death. 
Pull of compassion they bear him to comfortable quarters, 
where they proceed to nurse him back to health ; and, when 
he is once more able to ride, he and Una resume their 
journey. As they proceed, however, Una becoming aware 
that her champion is not yet strong enough to do battle, 
conducts him to a house, where the wise old matron Re- 
ligion, Doctor Patience, and three handmaidens, Faith, 
Hope, and Charity, nurse him to such good purpose that 
Georgos is soon stronger than ever. During his convales- 
cence in this hospitable abode, the Red Cross Knight once 
wanders to the top of the hill of Contemplation, whence 
he is vouchsafed a vision of the New Jerusalem, and where 
he encounters an old man who prophesies that after ful- 
filling his present quest he wiU be known as ' ' Saint George 
of Merry England." Modestly deeming himself unworthy 
of such distinction, the Red Cross Knight objects that a 
ploughman's son should not receive such honor, until the 
aged man informs him he is in reality the son of the British 
king, stolen from his cradle by a wicked fairy, who, finding 
him too heavy to carry, dropped him in a field where a 
farmer discovered and adopted him. Notwithstanding this 
rustic breeding it was Georgos ' noble blood that ui^ed him 
to seek adventures, and sent him to Gloriana's court, whence 
he sallied forth on his present quest. 

After another brief sojourn in the house of Religion, 
the Red Cross Knight and Una again set forth, and passing 
through another wilderness reach a land ravaged and be- 
fouled by the dragon which holds Una's parents in durance 
vile. The lady is just pointing out her distant home to 
the Red Cross Knight, when she hears the dragon coming, 
and, bidding her champion fight him bravely, takes refuge 
in a cave near by. Spurring forward to encounter his 
opponent, the Red Cross Knight comes face to face with a 


hideous monster, sheathed in brazen scales and lashing a 
tail that sweeps over acres at a time. This monster is 
further provided with redoubtable iron teeth and brazen 
claws, and breathes forth sulphur and other deadly fumes. 

Notwithstanding his opponent's advantages, Georgos 
boldly attacks him, only to find no weapon can pierce the 
metal scales. At the end of the first day's fight, the dragon 
withdraws, confident he will get the better of his foe on 
the morrow. At the close of the second day, the monster's 
tail whisks Georgos into a pool, whose waters fortunately 
prove so healing that this bath washes away every trace 
of weakness and restores him to health and strength. On 
the third day's encounter, the Red Cross Knight manages 
to run his sword into the dragon's mouth, and thus inflicts 
a deadly wound. Seeing her foe writhing at last in the 
agonies of death, Una joyfully emerges from her hiding- 
place, while the watchman on the castle tower loudly pro- 
claims that they are free at last ! 

The poet vividly describes the relief of Una's parents 
on being able to emerge from their castle once more, and 
their joy on embracing the daughter who has effected their 
rescue. The castle inmates not only load Una with praise, 
but escort her and her champion back to their abode, where 
their marriage takes place amid general rejoicings. But, 
although the Red Cross Knight would fain linger by Una, 
he remembers his promise to serve Gloriana for six years, 
and sets out immediately to redress other wrongs. 


The next adventure in the Faerie Queene is that of ..^ 
GuYon. — personifying T emp erance, — who is escorted every- 
where by a black-garbed palmer.-^Pniden ee or Abstinence, 
— at whose dictation he performs all manner of heroic deeds. 
Journeying together they soon meet a squire, who reports 
a lady has just been captured by a wicked knight, who is 
bearing her away. On hearing of this damsel's peril. Sir 
Guyon bids her squire lead them in the direction where she 
vanished, declaring h? will save her if possible, He soon 


encounters a maiden with dishevelled locks and torn gar- 
ments, who delays him by informing him that she has been 
illtreated by a knight bearing the device of a red cross. 
Although loath to believe Georgos can be guilty of an un- 
ehivalrie deed, Sir Guyon and the palmer promise to call 
him to account as soon as they overtake him. They no 
sooner do so, however, than he assures them Archimago in 
his guise has been ranging through the forest, and that they 
must have met Duessa. Turning to punish the lying squire 
who led them astray, Sir Guyon now perceives he has van- 
ished, and humbly begs pardon of the Red Cross Knight. 

Shortly after. Sir Guyon is startled by loud shrieks, 
and, hastening in the direction whence they proceed, dis- 
covers a wounded lady and a dead knight. Close beside the 
lady is a young babe, whose innocent hands are dabbling 
in his parent's blood. On questioning the woman. Sir 
Guyon learns that her husband has been bewitched by 
Aerasia, — -or Pleasure, — ^who bore him off to the Bower of 
Bliss, a place where she detains her captives, feeding them 
on sweets until their manly courage is gone. On learning 
her husband had fallen into the power of this enchantress, 
the lady had sought theJBoffigr of Bliss and by dint of 
wifely devotion had rescued her spouse. But, even as they 
left, the witch bestowed upon them a magic cup, in which 
little suspecting its evil powers, the wife offered water to 
her husband. No sooner had he drunk than blood gushed 
from his mouth and he died, whereupon, frantic at having 
unwittingly slain the man she loved, the lady had dealt 
herself a mortal wound with his sword. 

Scarcely had the sufferer finished this account when 
she sank back lifeless, so Sir Guyon and the palmer, after 
burying the parents, vainly tried to remove the blood 
stains from the infant's hands. Then, unable to care 
properly for him themselves, they entrusted it to some 
ladies in a castle near by, bidding them call the babe Ruddy 
Main, or the Red Handed, and send him to court when he 
had grown up. 

Having thus provided for the orphan. Sir Guyon, whose 


horse and spear meanwhile have been purloined by Brag- 
gadocchio, decides to recover possession of them, and to 
seek the Bower of Bliss to slay the witch Aerasia, who has 
caused such grievous harm. On this quest Sir Guyon and 
the palmer encounter the madman Furor, and then reach 
a stream which is too deep to ford. While they are seek- 
ing some conveyance to bear them across, they perceive a 
skiff rowed by a fair lady, Phaedria, — or Mirth. At their 
call she pushes her boai close toThem^ biiit^o^ sooner has 
Sir Guyon sprung aboard than she pushes off, leaving the 
palmer behind in spite of all entreaties. Although impelled 
neither by oars nor sails, Phaedria 's boat drifts rapidly 
over the Idle Sea, and Sir Guyon, on questioning its owner, 
learns they are bound for her magic realm. 

They have scarcely touched the sedgy shores of a charm- 
iag island, when a ruffian, ^mochleSj— or Decdt, — ^bursts 
out of the thicket to claim the lady. Undaunted by the 
size of his challenger. Sir Guyon attacks him, and the duel 
might have proved fatal had not Phaedria cast herself be- 
tween the champions, begging them not to quarrel in the 
land of love and delight. Thereupon Sir Guyon hotly iu- 
forms her he has no desire to slay Deceit or to claim her, 
and, seeing she cannot make any impression upon him, 
Phaedria angrily bids him reenter the boat, which soon 
bears him to the place which he wished to reach. 

Although still mourning the loss of his companion, the 
palmer. Sir Guyon decides to continue his quest for the 
Bower of Bliss. While passing through a dense thicket, 
his attention is attracted by a clank of metal, and peering 
through the branches he descries an old, dirt-encrusted man, 
surrounded by mounds of precious stones and coins, which 
keep droppiag through his fingers. This creature is Mam- 
mon, — God of Wea,lth,— who is so busy counting his treas- 
ures that at first he pays no heed to Sir Guyon. When 
questioned, however, he boasts he is more powerful than 
any potentate in the world, and tries to entice Sir Guyon 
to enter into his service by promising him much gold. For 
a moment Sir Guyon wavers, but finally decides not to 


accept the offer until he has ascertained whether Mammon 's 
riches have been honestly gained. To show whence he 
draws them, the money-god now conveys Sir Guyon to the 
bowels of the earth, and there lets him view his minions 
mining gold, silver, and precious stones, and thus constantly 
increasing his hoard. But, although sorely tempted, Sir 
Guyon perceives that Mammon's workmen are oppressed 
by Care and driven by ^Fjorce and Fraud, who keep them 
constantly at work and never allow Sleep- to approach them. 
This discovery makes him decide to have nothing to do with 
Mammon's treasures, although he is led into a hall where 
hosts of people are paying homage to the money king's 
daughter, who, he is told, will be his bride if he will only 
accept her father's offers. Coldly rejoining that his troth 
is already plighted. Sir Guyon refuses, only to emerge from 
this hall into a garden, through whose branches he catches 
fleeting glimpses of the underworld. In one of its rivers 
he even beholds Tantalus, undergoing torments from hunger 
and thirst, in punishment for sins committed while on earth. 

After being subjected for three days to all the tempta- 
tions of the underworld. Sir Guyon is led back to the light 
of day, where Mammon — ^who bitterly terms him a fool — 
abandons him. 

The story now returns to the palmer, who, after watch- 
ing Sir Guyon out of sight, wanders along the stream in 
quest of a vessel to follow his master. Several days later 
he manages to cross, only to hear a silvery voice calling for 
aid. Bursting through the thicket, he discovers Sir Guyon, 
lying on the ground, watched over by a spirit of such 
transcendent beauty that the palmer realizes it must be 
an angel even before he notes- its diaphanous wings. This 
ministering spirit assures the palmer that Sir Guyon will 
soon recover, adding that although- unseen he will continue 
to watch over him, and will help him to escape from all 
the dangers along his path. Then the heavenly spirit van- 
ishes, and, while the palmer is bending over the fainting 
Sir Guyon, he sees two knights draw near, preceded by a 
page and followed by an old man, These knights are Deceit 


md his^ brother, who have been brought hither by the old 
man ArcEmago, to slay Sir Guyon whom they hate. 

Drawing near, these ruffians thrust the palmer aside, but, 
while they are stripping the unconscious man of his armor, 
another knight suddenly draws near and attacks them. 
One giant, being without a sword, seizes that of Sir Guyon, 
although Arehimago warns him that as it once belonged 
to his antagonist, it will never harm him. 

Prince Arthur, for it is he, now overcomes the ruffians, 
to whom he generously offers life, provided they will obey 
him hereafter. But, when they refuse these terms, he 
ruthlessly slays them, and their spirits flee shrieking "to 
the land of eternal night." 

At this moment Sir Guyon recovers his senses, and is 
overjoyed to find the palmer beside him and to leam that 
Prince Arthur, who rescued him from the ruffians, is not 
far away. 

After a brief rest, Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon de- 
part together, the former explaining how anxious he is to 
do anything in his power for Queen Gloriana, whom he 
devotedly loves although he has never yet seen her. Con- 
versing together, the two ride on to a castle, where no heed 
is paid to their request for a night's lodging. They are 
marvelling at such a discourtesy, when a head is thrust 
over the battlement and a hoarse voice bids them flee, 
explaining that the castle has been besieged for seven years 
past by barbarians lurking in the forest, against whom no 
knight has ever been able to prevail. 

It is while the watchman is thus accounting for his in- 
hospitality, that a rout of hungry barbarians bursts out of 
the forest and attacks Sir Guyon and Prince Arthur, both 
of whom fight to such good purpose that they utterly 
annihilate their assailants. Happy to be delivered from 
these foes, the inhabitants of the castle then open wide 
their gates. Our knights spend several days there restrag 
from their labors, and perusing sundry books where they 
leam the history of aU the British kings. Meantime the 
palmer, who has followed them thither, forges chains and 


a steel net, with which to capture and hold the witch 
Acrasia when the right time comes. "When he has finished 
manufacturing these objects, he persuades Sir Guyon to 
start out once more. Reaching the water again, they board 
a vessel, which bears them safely past the Magnetic Rock, 
over the Sea of Gluttony, etc., to an island, whose beauty 
htunan imagination cannot conceive. 

On landing, the travellers are surprised to encounter 
strange monsters, and to be enveloped in dense mists, 
through which they hear the flapping of bat-like wings and 
catch glimpses of harpy-like creatures. Knowing monsters 
and mists are mere delusions. Sir Guyon pays little heed 
to them, and the palmer soon disperses them by a touch 
from his magic staff. Still bearing the steel net and iron 
chains, this faithful henchman foUows Sir Guyon into the 
enchanted bower of Acrasia, where he explains to his master 
that the animals he sees owe their present forms to the 
enchantress' power, for she always transforms her visitors 
into beasts! 

Through an ivory gate, — on which is carved the story 
of "The Golden Fleece," — ^the adventurers enter a hall, 
where a porter offers them wine. But Sir Guyon, knowing 
a drop of it would have a baleful effect upon the drinker, 
boldly dashes it out of his hand. Then, threading his way 
through the Bower of Bliss, he reaches its innermost grove, 
although Phaedria tries to detain him by offering him 
sundry pleasures. Pressing onward. Sir Guyon finally 
catches a glimpse of Acrasia herself, reposing upon a bed 
of fiowers, and holding on Eer lap the head of an innocent 
youth, who is helpless owing to her spell. Silently signalling 
to the palmer. Sir Guyon spreads out the steel net, which 
they fling so deftly over witch and victim that neither can 
escape. Then Sir Guyon binds Acrasia fast, threatening 
to kill her unless she removes the speU which she has laid 
upon her captives. All the beasts on the island are there- 
fore soon restored to their natural forms, and all profess 
gratitude, save one, whom the palmer grimly bids continue 
to be a pig, since such is his choice ! 


Having thus happily achieved this quest, Sir Guyon 
and the palmer leave the island with Acrasia, who is sent 
under strong guard to the court of the Fairy Queen, where 
Gloriana is to dispose of her according to her good pleasure. 


Britomart, only child of King Ryence, had from earliest 
childhood so longed to be a boy that, instead of devoting her 
time to womanly occupations, she practised manly sports 
until she became as expert a warrior as any squire in her 
father's realm. 

One day, while wandering in the palace, she discovered 
in the treasure-room a magic mirror, fashioned by Merlin 
for her father, wherein one could behold the secrets of the 
future. Gazing into its crystal depths while wondering 
whom she should ultimately marry, Britomart suddenly saw 
a handsome knight, who bore a motto proclaiming that he 
was _Six Artegall, the Champion jof, Justice and proud pos- 
sessor of Achilles' armor. Scarcely had Britomart per- 
ceived this much than the vision faded. But the princess 
left the room, feeling that henceforth she would know no 
rest until she had met her destined mate. When she con- 
fided this vision to her nurse Glance, the worthy woman sug- 
gested that they go and consult Merlin, wearing the garb 
of men. 

Early the next day, therefore, the two visited the 
magician, who, piercing their disguise, declared he knew 
who they were, and bade them ride forth as knight and 
squire to meet the person they sought. Thus encouraged, 
Britomart, wearing an Amazon's armor and bearing a 
magic spear, set out on her quest, and met Prince Arthur 
and Sir Guyon, just after Acrasia had been dispatched to 
Gloriana 's court and while they were in quest of new 

Seeing a warrior approach. Sir Guyon immediately low- 
ered his lance, but to his surprise was unhorsed by Brito- 
mart 's invincible spear. She was about to dismount to 


despatcli her fallen foe with her sword, when the palmer 
loudly bade his master crave mercy, seeing it was useless 
to contend against magic weapons. Hearing this, Sir Guyon 
surrendered, and he and Prince Arthur humbly offered to 
escort Britomart, whom they naturally took for a powerful 

They had not gone very far when they beheld at a dis- 
tance a damsel dashing madly through the bushes, casting 
fearful glances behind her, for she was closely pursued by 
a grizzly forester. All their ohivalric instincts aroused. 
Prince Arthur and his companions spurred hotly after the 
distressed damsel, while Britomart and her nurse calmly 
rode on, until they came to a castle, at whose gates one 
knight was desperately fighting against six. Seeing this, 
Britomart boldly rode to the rescue of the oppressed knight, 
and fought beside him to such good purpose that they 
defeated their assailants. Then, entering the castle, Brito- 
mart and her nurse proceeded to care for their companion, 
the Red Cross Knight, who had received serious wounds. 

Although he had noticed in the midst of the conflict 
that a golden curl had escaped from Britomart 's helmet and 
fallen over her breast, and had thus discovered her sex, 
he courteously ignored it until they were about to ride 
away together, when he respectfully offered to serve as the 
lady's protector and escort. Thereupon Britomart ex- 
plained who she was, adding that she was in quest of Sir 
Artegall, of whom she spoke rather slightingly, because 
she did not wish her companion to know how deeply she 
had fallen in love with a stranger. Judging from her tone 
that she did not approve of Sir Artegall, the Red Cross 
Knight hotly protested he was the noblest and most cour- 
teous knight that had ever lived, which, of course, pleased 

Meantime, Prince Arthur and Sir Guyon, with their 
respective attendants, pursued the distressed damsel, riding 
through thick and thin until they came to cross-roads. Not 
knowing which path the fugitive had chosen, our heroes 
decided to part and ride along separate ways. Thus, it was 


Prince Arthur who first caught a glimpse of the fugitive, 
who still kept glancing backward as if afraid ; but, although 
hs spurred on as fast as possible, he was not able to over- 
take her, and had to pause at nightfall to rest. On resuming 
his quest on the morrow, he soon encountered a dwarf, who 
reported he was the servant of Lady PlorimeU, who had 
fled from court five days ago on hearing a rumor that her 
lover, Marinell, was slain. The poor damsel, while in quest 
of her lover, had been seen and pursued by an ill-favored 
forester, and the dwarf feared some harm might have be- 
fallen her. To comfort this faithful henchman, Prince 
Arthur promised to go with him and rescue the unhappy 

Meantime, undaunted by darkness, Florimell had ridden 
on until her weary steed paused before a hut deep in the 
woods. There she dismounted and humbly begged the old 
witch who lived there to give her some food. Moved 
by the distress of the stranger, the sorceress bade her 
dry her garments at her fire, and while the lady was 
sitting there the witch's son, a lazy worthless fellow, sud- 
denly entered. To see Florimell was to love her, so the 
uncouth rustic immediately began to court her with fruits 
and flowers which he sought ia the forest. Fearing lest he 
should molest her finally, Florimell escaped from the hut 
on her palfrey, which she found in the witch's stable. 

On awakening on the morrow to find their fair visitor 
gone, the witch and her son were in such despair that they 
let loose a vnld beast, which they owned, bidding him track 
the missing girl. Before long, therefore, poor Florimell 
heard this monster crashing through the forest. Terrified 
at the thought of falling into its power, she urged her 
steed toward the sea-shore, in hopes of finding a boat and 
getting away. On reaching the water, she sprang off her 
steed, and, seeing a little skiff near by, stepped into it and 
pushed off, without securing the permission of the fisher- 
man, who was sleeping at the bottom of the boat while his 
nets were drying on the sand. 

Barely were they out of reach when the beast rushed 


down to the shore, pounced upon Plorimell's horse and de- 
voured it. The monster was still occupied thus when Sir 
Satyrane came riding along. He rashly concluded the beast 
had devoured the rider too, a fear confirmed by the sight 
of FlorimeU's girdle on the sand. Attacking the monster, 
Sir Satyrane overcame and bound him fast with the girdle, 
but he hadn't gone far, leading this reluctant captive, when 
he spied a giantess bearing off an armed squire. In his 
haste to overtake her and rescue a fellow-man. Sir Satyrane 
spurred forward so hastily that the girdle slipped off the 
neck of the beast, which, finding itself free, plunged back 
into the forest. To attack the giantess, free her captive, 
and restore him to his senses proved short work for Sir 
Satyrane, who learned that the youth he had delivered was 
known as the Squire of Dames, because he constantly rode 
through the forest freeing damsels in distress. 

Together with this companion. Sir Satyrane journeyed 
on until they encountered Sir Paridell, who told them he 
was in quest of Florimell, who was wandering alone in the 
forest. Thereupon Sir Satyrane informed Sir Paridell that 
the maiden must be dead, exhibiting as proof her girdle and 
relating under what circumstances it had been found. Then 
all present took a solemn oath not to rest until they had 
avenged the lady's death. Biding together these three 
knights, overtaken by a storm, sought shelter in a neigh- 
boring castle, only to be refused admittance. To escape from 
the downpour, they therefore took refuge with their steeds 
ia a neighboring shed, and were scarcely ensconced there 
when another stranger rode up seeking shelter too. As 
there was no room left, the first-comers forbade the stranger 
to enter, whereupon he challenged them to- come forth and 
fight. Hearing this, Sir Paridell sallied out and began a 
duel, which was closely watched by his two companions. 
They, however, decided that the combatants were so exactly 
matched that it was useless to- continue the fight, and sug- 
gested that they four join forces to make their way into 
the castle. 

Before the determined attack of these knights and of 


their followers, Malbeeco, owner of the castle, opened his 
gates, and the strangers proceeded to remove their armor 
and make themselves at home. While doing so all present 
were startled to see that one of their number was a woman, 
for the last-comer, Britomart, had no sooner removed her 
helmet than her curls fell down over her shoulders ! 

The next day all left the castle save Sir Paridell, who 
had been so sorely wounded by Britomart that he was forced 
to remain there for a while. Before long Britomart and 
her squire parted from Sir Satyrane and the Squire of 
Dames, and rode along until they beheld a shield hanging 
from a branch in the forest. Sxu*prised by such a sight, 
they invesitigated, only to find its owner, Sir Scudamore, 
weeping beside a stream, because his bride, Amoret, had 
been stolen from him on his wedding day by the magician 
Busirane, who was trying to force her to marry him. Hav- 
ing heard this tale of woe, Britomart informed Sir Scuda- 
more that instead of shedding vain tears they ought to 
devise means to rescue the captive lady. Encouraged by 
these words, Sir Scudamore donned his discarded armor 
and volunteered to guide Britomart to the magician's castle, 
explaining on the way that it was surrounded by a wall of 
fire through which none had been able to pass. 

Undaunted by this information, Britomart pressed on- 
ward, and on reaching the castle declared her intention to 
charge through the flames. Although Sir Scudamore 
bravely tried to accompany her, he was driven back by 
the fierce heat, but Britomart passed through scatheless, 
and, entering the castle, found herself in a large room, 
whence led a door with the inscription "Be bold." After 
studjnng these words for a few moments, Britomart opened 
this door and passed through it into a second chamber, 
whose walls were Itaed with silver and gold, where she saw 
another door above which the same words were written 
twice. Opening this door also, Britomart entered into a 
third apartment,, sparkling with precious stones, in the 
centre of which she saw an altar surmounted by a statue of 
Love. Further investigation revealed also the fact that it 


boasted another door above which was the inscription ' ' Be 
bold, but not too bold. ' ' 

Pondering on the meaning of this warning, Britomart 
decided not to open it, but to take up her vigU fully armed 
beside the altar. As the clock struck midnight, the mys- 
terious door flew open, and through its portals came a 
strange procession of beasts and queer mortals, leading the 
doleful Amoret, who had a dagger thrust into her heart 
and stumbled along in mortal pain. Although Britomart 
would fain have gone to Amoret 's rescue, she was rooted to 
the soil by a spell too powerful to break, and, therefore, 
remained inactive while the procession circled around the 
altar, and again vanished behind the door, which closed 
with an ominous clang. Then only the speU lost its power, 
and Britomart, springing toward the door, vainly tried to 
open it. Not being able to do so, she decided to continue 
mounting guard on this spot in hopes of catching another 
glimpse of the suffering lady. But only twenty-four hours 
later the door reopened and the same procession ap- 
peared; it was about to vanish a second time when Brito- 
mart, by a violent effort, broke the spell and dashed into 
the next apartment before the door closed. 

There, finding the magician Brusirane on the point of 
binding Amoret fast to a post, she struck him so powerful 
a blow that he was obliged to recognize he was in her 
power. Britomart was about to slay him when Amoret re- 
minded her he alone could heal her wound and free the 
other inmates of the castle from magic thraldom. At the 
point of her sword, therefore, Britomart compelled the 
magician to undo his spells, and, when he had pronounced 
the necessary words, Amoret stood before her as whole and 
as well as on her wedding-mom when snatched away from 
her bridegroom. Seeing this, Britomart bade Amoret fol- 
low her out of the castle, assuring her that her husband 
was waiting without and would be overjoyed to see her once 
more. But, although the rescued lady now gladly followed 
her deliverer, she was sorely dismayed on reaching the 
forest to find that Sir Scudamore and Britomart 's nurse and 


squire had gone away, evidently deeming them both lost. 
To comfort poor Amoret, Britomart suggested that they 
ride after their companions, a proposal which Amoret gladly 


As Britomart conjectured. Sir Seudamore, deeming it 
impossible she should survive the heat of the flames which 
had so sorely scorched him, persuaded the nurse to ride 
on with him, in hopes of encountering knights who would 
help him rescue his bride. 

They two soon met a couple of warriors, who, on hearing 
their tale, laughingly assured them they need make no 
further efforts to rescue Amoret, as she had meantime been 
saved by a handsome young knight, with whom she was 
gayly riding through the forest. Incensed by this state- 
ment. Sir Seudamore offered to fight both informers, who, 
laughing at him for being jilted, rode contemptuously away. 
These two mockers hadn't gone very far, however, before 
they encountered a beautiful damsel, whom they mistook 
for the long-lost Florimell, but who was merely an image 
of her conjured up by the witch to comfort her son when 
he blubbered over the loss of his fair lady. As many 
knights were in quest of Florimell, some of them soon 
encountered the scoffers, who declared they were leading 
the lady back to court. But a little while later the Squire 
of Dames found them contending for the possession of the 
false Florimell, and suggested that they settle their differ- 
ence at the court of Sir Satyrane, where a tournament had 
been proclaimed and where Florimell 's girdle was to be 
bestowed by the victor upon the fairest lady present. Hear- 
ing this, both knights, anxious to win the girdle, set out 
for the tournament, where many others had assembled to 
take part in the knightly games. 

Here any number of feats of valor were performed 
before, on the third day. Sir Artegall entered the lists. 


To his surprise, however, he was unhorsed by a stranger 
knight, Britomart, who, little suspecting her opponent was 
the lover she sought, bore off in triumph the girdle her 
prowess had won. Then, summoning all the maidens 
present, she picked out the false Florimell as the greatest 
beauty and handed her the girdle. But, to the surprise of 
all present, the lady could not keep the girdle clasped about 
her waist, and, incensed at the mocking remarks of the by- 
standers, finally challenged the other ladies present to try it 
on. Thus it was ascertained that none could wear it save 
Amoret, evidently the only perfectly faithful lady present. 

Having thus disposed of her prize, Britomart rode off 
with her companion, little suspecting she was turning her 
back on the very man she was seeking. Meantime Sir 
Scudamore, encountering Sir Artegall and hearing he had 
been defeated by the knight who had carried off Amoret, 
invited him to accompany him and seek revenge. They two 
soon met Britomart, now riding alone through the forest, 
for, while she was asleep one day, Amoret had strayed 
away and gotten lost. Spurring forward to attack the 
stranger. Sir Scudamore was unhorsed at the first touch of 
her spear, and, when Sir Artegall rushed forward to rescue 
him, he too was disarmed. But, in the midst of the fight, 
Britomart 's helmet fell off, so both knights perceived they 
had been defeated by a woman. Humbly kneeling before 
her, they begged her pardon. Sir Scudamore realizing with 
joy that, as his wife had been travelling with a woman, his 
mad jealousy was without cause ! 

To justify her mistress, the nurse-squire now explained 
to both men how Britomart had seen Sir Artegall in the 
magic mirror, and was in quest of him because fate destined 
him to be her spouse. Happy at securing such a mate. 
Sir Artegall expressed deep joy, while Sir Scudamore clam- 
ored to know what had become of his wife, and grieved to 
learn she was lost. To comfort him, however, Britomart 
promised to help him recover his beloved, before she would 
consent to marry. Then all four proceeded to a neighbor- 
ing castle, where Sir Artegall was solemnly betrothed to 


Britomart, and where they agreed their marriage would 
take place as soon as Amoret was found. 

Meantime Timias, squire of Prince Arthur, seeking to 
4race the flying damsel, overtook the grim forester, with 
whom he had a terrible encounter. Sorely wounded in this 
fight, the poor squire lay in the forest until found by the 
nymph Belphebe, a twin sister of Amoret, who, in pity for 
his sufferings, bathed his wounds, laid healing herbs upon 
them, and did all she could to save his life. To her satis- 
faction, the wounded squire soon recovered consciousness, 
so she conveyed him to her bower, where she and her 
nymphs attended him until his wounds were entirely healed. 
During this ilbiess Timias fell deeply in love with Belphebe ; 
but, deeming himself of too lowly condition to declare 
his passion for a lady of high degree, he sorely pined. 
Thereupon Belphebe renewed her efforts to cure him, until 
he was strong enough to accompany her into the forest. 
They were hunting there one day when Timias beheld a 
damsel fleeing from a misshapen monster, whom he attacked, 
but against whom he could not prevail, because the monster 
opposed the lady as a shield to every blow which Timias 
tried to deal him. It was only by a feint, therefore, that 
Timias made the monster drop the lady, and he would 
surely have been slain by his opponent, had not his com- 
panion rescued him by a timely arrow. A moment later 
Belphebe was horrified to see Timias madly kissing the lady 
the monster had dropped. Without waiting to ascertain 
why he was doing so, the angry nymph fled, but, had she 
lingered, she woidd have discovered that Timias was kissing 
her own counterpart, for he had rescued her twin sister 
Amoret, who, after wandering away from the sleeping 
Britomart, had been seized by the monster from whose 
cave she had just managed to escape. 

Bewildered to see Belphebe — ^whom he thought he was 
embracing — ^rush away, Timias now dropped Amoret to 
follow his charmer, but, owing to his lack of familiarity 
with the forest pathways, he soon lost his way. In his grief 


he built himself a hut and dwelt in the forest, vowing not 
to go back in quest of Amoret, lest he thereby arouse the 
jealousy of his beloved. But to beguile his sorrow he carved 
Belphebe's name on every tree, and was kissing these marks 
when Prince Arthur, seeing him thus occupied, fancied he 
had gone mad ! 

Meantime Timias had also found a dove which had lost 
its mate, and, realizing that they were both suffering from 
similar complaints, bound around the bird's neck a ruby 
heart Belphebe had given him. The dove, flying back to its 
mistress, enticed her, by fluttering a few paces ahead of her, 
to the place where Timias was kissing her name carved upon 
a tree. Convinced of his fidelity by such a proof of devotion, 
Belphebe reinstated Timias in her favor, and once more 
ranged the forest with him, hunting all kinds of game, until 
poor Timias was wounded by the Blatant Beast, — Slander, — 
a monster from whose jaws he was fortunately rescued by 
Prince Arthur. 

After a partial recovery, Timias rode off with his master, 
to whom he confided how he had abandoned Amoret in the 
forest, and from whom he inquired whether any further 
news had been heard about her. To Timias* satisfaction 
Arthur assured him she had safely rejoined her husband, 
who, finding her wounded in the forest, had carried her 
off to a castle and tenderly nursed her back to health. It 
was only after witnessing the joyful celebration of the long- 
postponed wedding festivities of this reunited couple, that 
Sir Arthur had started off on his recent quest for his squire. 

Meantime the real Florimell, east into the sea by the 
angry fisherman whose vessel she had entered without per- 
mission, was conveyed by sea-nymphs to Proteus' haU, 
where, after witnessing the nuptials of the Thames and 
Medway, she learned that her lover, MarineU, was recover- 
ing from his wound, thanks to the ministrations of his 
goddess mother. He had, however, been pining for her, 
and recovered perfect health and happiness only when they 
were joined in wedlock. 



Sir Artegall, the noble champion of justice, or lord 
deputy of Ireland, sets forth at Gloriana's behest to defend 
Irena, or Ireland . He is attended by Talus, an iron man, 
whose flail is supposed to thresh out falsehood. They two 
have not proceeded very far before they come across a 
knight bending over a headless lady. On inquiring of him, 
they learn that a passing rufBan not only carried off the 
knight's mate, but left in her stead a dame, whom he be- 
headed, because she pursued him. 

Provided with a description of the armor and accoutre- 
ments of the ruffian, the iron page sets out in pursuit of 
him, and stuns him. Then, having bound him fast, he leads 
him and his captive back to his master and to the mourning 
knight. There the ruffian. Sir Sanglier, coldly asserts he 
has nothing to do with the headless lady, but that the livipg 
one belongs to him. Finding it impossible to decide which 
tells the truth. Sir Artegall decrees that the second lady 
shall be beheaded also, but, while Sanglier readily agrees 
to this Solomon-like judgment, the true lover vehemently 
pleads for the lady's life, declaring he would rather know 
her safe than be proved right. Fully satisfied now that Sir 
Sanglier is at fault. Sir Artegall metes out justice and 
continues his quest. 

Before very long he encounters a dwarf who announces 
that Florimell's wedding will take place three days hence, 
and suggests that, before appearing there. Sir Artegall de- 
feat a Saracen who mounts guard over a neighboring bridge, 
despoiling all those who pass, for the benefit of his daughter. 
Such an undertaking suits Sir Artegall, who not only slays 
both the giant and his daughter, but razes their castle to 
the ground. Shortly after, on approaching the sea-shore. 
Sir Artegall perceives a charlatan provided with scales in 
which he pretends to weigh all things anew. Thereupon Sir 
Artegall, by weighing such intangible things as truth and 
falsehood, right and wrong, demonstrates that the char- 


latan's scales are false, and, after convicting him of trickery, 
drowns him in the sea. 

The poet now ably describes the wedding of Florimell 
and Marinell and the tournament celebrated in their honor, 
which Sir Artegall attends, wearing Braggadoechio's armor 
as disguise. He helps Marinell win the prize which is to 
be bestowed upon Plorrmell, but, when the moment comes 
to award it, Braggadocchio boldly produces a false Flori- 
mell, so exactly like the true one that they cannot be told 
apart. Sir Artegall, however, ruthlessly exposes the trick, 
whereupon the false Florimell vanishes, leaving nothing be- 
hind her save the wrongfully appropriated girdle, which 
reverts at last to its legitimate owner. Seeing this, Brag- 
gadocchio is about to sneak away, when Sir Guyon suddenly 
steps forward demanding the return of his stolen steed. 
Although Braggadocchio boldly asserts the steed he rides is 
his own, Sir Artegall inquires of each what secret tokens 
the animal bears, and thus enables Sir Guyon to prove 

Sir Artegall, not long after leaving the marriage hall, 
journeys to the sea-shore, where he discovers twin brothers 
quarrelling for the possession of two girls, one of whom is 
perched upon a huge coffer. Not only does Artegall cheek 
this fight, but, on inquiring into its cause, leams how the 
twin brothers were awarded neighboring islands, and how 
the storms and the sea have carried off half the land of the 
one only to add it to the possessions of the other. Thus, 
one twin has become richer than the other, and the heiress, 
who had promised to marry the poorer brother, has trans- 
ferred her affections and possessions to the richer twin. On 
her way to join him, however, she suffers shipwreck and 
arrives at his island penniless. But the chest containing 
her treasures is in due time washed back to the smaller 
island, where, meantime, the discarded fiancee of the richer 
brother has taken refuge. As the wealthy twin declared, 
when the land was mentioned, that "what the sea brought 
he had a right to keep," Sir Artegall decides he shall now 
abide by his own words, and that, since the sea conveyed 
the treasure-chest to his brother, he has no further claim 


upon it. Having thus settled this dispute, Artegall rides on 
until he meets a troop of Amazons about to hang an un- 
fortunate man. At his bidding, Talus delivers this victim, 
— Sir Turpine, — a knight who came hither intending to 
fight the Amazons. Because the queen of these warrior- 
women has slain many men, Artegall challenges her to issue 
from her stronghold and fight with him. 

We now have a briUiant description of Eadigonde's 
appearance and of the duel, in which, blinding him by her 
beauty, she manages to get the better of Artegall. Having 
done this, she triumphantly bears him off to her oastle, after 
ordering the execution of Sir Turpine and Talus, who con- 
trive to escape. But Sir Artegall, being a prisoner, is re- 
duced to slavery, forced to assume a woman's garb and to 
spin beside his f eUow-eaptives, for the Amazon queen wishes 
to starve and humiliate her captives into submission to her 

Having contrived to escape, Talus informs Britomart 
that her lover is a prisoner, whereupon she sets out to 
rescue him, meeting with sundry extraordinary adventures 
by the way, in which she triumphs, thanks to her magic 

While spending a peaceful night in the Temple of 
Isis, Britomart is finally favored with a vision, inspired by 
which she challenges Radigonde, who in the midst of the 
encounter turns to flee. But Britomart pursues her into 
her stronghold, whence she manages to rescue Artegall and, 
after setting him free, bids him continue his adventurous 

Sir Artegall and his faithful squire soon after see 
a maiden flee before two knights, but, before they can over- 
take her, they notice how a new-comer slays one pursuer 
while the other turns back. Urged by the maiden, Artegall 
kills the second persecutor, and only then discovers that the 
knight who first came to her rescue is Arthur. They two, 
by questioning the maid, learn she is a servant of Mercilla 
(another personification of Elizabeth), and that her mis- 
tress is sorely beset by the Soldan, to whom she has recently 
gone to carry a message. On her return, the poor maid was 


pursued by two Saracen knights, who were determined to 
secure her as a prize. Hearing this, ArtegaU proposes to 
assume the armor of one of the dead knights, and thus dis- 
guised to convey the maiden back to the Soldan's court. 
Arthur is to follow under pretence of ransoming the cap- 
tive, knowing that his offer will be refused so insolently 
that he will have an excuse to challenge the Soldan. All 
this comes true, and thanks to his magic shield Arthur 
triumphs. The Soldan's wife, learning that her husband 
has succumbed, now proposes to take her revenge by slaying 
the captive maid, but ArtegaU defends her and drives the 
Soldan's wife into the forest, where she is transformed into 
a tiger! 

Arthur and Sir ArtegaU now gallantly offer to escort 
the maid home, although she warns them that Guyle lies in 
wait by the roadside, armed with hooks and a net to catch 
all travellers who pass his cave. But, thanks to the bravery, 
strength, and agility of Arthur, ArtegaU, and Talus, Guyle 's 
might is broken, and the maid triumphantly leads the three 
victorious champions to Mercilla's castle. After passing 
through its magnificent haUs, they are ushered by Awe and 
Order into the presence of the queen, whose transcendent 
beauty and surroundings are described at length. While 
the queen is seated on her throne, with the English lion at 
her feet, Duessa (Mary Queen of Scots) is brought before 
her and is proved guilty of countless crimes ; but, although 
she evidently deserves death, MerciUa, too merciful to 
condemn her, sets her free. 

It is while sojourning at MereUla's elegant court 
that ArtegaU and Arthur see two youths appear to in- 
form the queen that their mother Beige, or Belgium, a 
widow with seventeen sons, has been deprived of twelve 
of her offspring by a three-headed monster, Gereones (the 
personification of Philip the Second of Spain, the ruler of 
three realms). This inonster invariably" delivers his cap- 
tives into the hands of the Inquisition, by which they are 
sorely persecuted. Hearing this report, Arthur steps for- 
ward, offering to defend the widow and her children. 
MerciUa granting his request without demur, Arthur hur- 


ries away, only to find that Beige has been driven out of 
her last stronghold by a faithless steward (Alba). But, 
thanks to Arthur's efforts, this steward is summoned forth, 
defeated in battle, and the lady reinstated in her domain. 

Gereones now dauntlessly attacks Arthur, whom the giant 
Beige secretly instructs to overthrow an idol in the neigh- 
boring church, as that will enable him to triumph without 
difficulty. While Arthur is thus rescuing Beige, Artegall' 
and Talus have again departed to free Irena from her 
oppressor Grantorto. On their way to Ireland, they meet 
a knight, who informs them Irena is doomed to perish 
unless a champion defeats Grantorto in duel. Thereupon 
Artegall swears to champion Irena 's cause, but, on the 
way to keep his promise, pauses to rescue a distressed 
knight (Henry IV. of F ragce), to whom he restores his 
lady FlourdeUs, whom Grantorto is also trying to secure. 

ArtegaU, the champion, reaching the sea-shore, at last 
finds a ship ready to sail for Ireland, where he lands, 
although Grantorto has stationed troops along the shore 
to prevent his doing so. These soldiers are soon scattered 
by Talus' flail, and Artegall, landing, forces Grantorto to 
bite the dust. Having thus freed Irena, he replaces her 
on her throne and restores order in her dominions, before 
Gloriana summons him back to court. 

On the way thither Sir Artegall is beset by the hags 
Envy and Detraction, who are so angry with him for 
freeing Irena lliaL Lliey not only attack him themselves, 
but turn loose upon him the Blatant Beast (Slander). 
Although Talus begs to annihilate this infamous trio with 
his dreaded flail, Artegall decrees they shall live, and, heed- 
less of their threats hurries on to report success to his 
beloved mistress. 


girjQ^JidflEe, who, in the poem, impersonatesjDourtesy 
(or Sir PhiliE,Sidney) , now meets Artegall, declaring the 
queen has despatched him to track and slay the Blatant 


Beast, — an offspring of Cerberus and Chimera, — ^whose 
bite inflicts a deadly wound. When Artegall reports hav- 
ing recently met that thousand-tongued monster, Calidore 
spurs off, and soon sees a squire bound to a tree. Pausing 
to free this captive, he learns that this unfortunate has 
been illtreated by a neighboring villain, who exacts the 
hair of every woman and beard of every man passing his 
castle, because his lady-love wishes a cloak woven of female 
hair and adorned with a fringe of beards. It was because 
the captive had vainly tried to rescue a poor lady from this 
tribute that he had been bound to this tree. On hearing 
this report, Sir Calidore decides to end such doings for- 
ever, and riding up to the castle pounds on its gates until 
a servant opens them wide. Forcing his way into the 
castle. Sir Calidore slays all who oppose him, and thus 
reaches the villain, with whom he fights until he compels 
hiTn to surrender and promise never to exact such tribute 

Having settled this affair entirely to his satisfaction, 
Sir Calidore rides on until he meets a youth on foot, bravely 
fighting a knight on horseback, while a lady anxiously 
watches the outcome of the fray. Just as Calidore rides 
up, the youth strikes down his opponent, a deed of violence 
justified by the maiden, who explains how the man on 
horseback was illtreating her when the youth came to her 
rescue. Charmed by the courage displayed by an unarmed 
man, Sir Calidore proposes to take the youth as his squire, 
and learns he is Tristram of Lyonnesse, son of a king, and 
in quest of adventures. 

Accompanied by this squire, who now wears the armor 
of the slain knight, Sir Calidore journeys on, until he 
sees a knight sorely wounded by the very man his new 
squire slew. They two convey this wounded man to a 
neighboring castle, thereby earning the gratitude of his 
companion, a lady mourning over his unconscious form. 

The castle-owner, father of the distinguished wounded 
man, is so grateful to his rescuers that he receives them 
with kindness. But he cannot account for the presence of 


the lady who explains his son loved her and often met her 
in the forest. After nursing her lover until he is out of 
danger, Priscilla expresses a desire to return home, but is 
at a loss how to account to her parents for her prolonged 
absence. Sir Calidore, who volunteers to escort her, then 
suggests that he bear to her father the head of the knight 
whom Tristram slew, stating this villain was carrying her 
off when he rescued her. This tale so completely blinds 
Priscilla 's father that he joyfully welcomes his daughter 
home, expressing great gratitude to her deliverers ere they 
pass on. 

Calidore and his squire have not journeyed far before 
they perceive a knight and his lady sporting in the shade. 
So joyful and innocent do they seem that the travellers 
gladly join them, and, while the men converse together, 
Lady Serena strays out into a neighboring field to gather 
flowers. While she is thus occupied the Blatant Beast 
pounces upon her, and is about to bear her away when 
her cries startle her companions. They immediately dart 
to her rescue. Calidore, arriving first, forces the animal 
to drop poor Serena, then, knowing her husband will 
attend to her, continues to pursue the fleeing monster. 

On reaching his beloved Serena, Sir Calespine finds 
her so sorely woimded that she requires immediate care. 
Tenderly placing her on his horse, he supports her fainting 
form through the forest. During one of their brief halts, 
he suddenly sees a bear carrying an infant, so rushes after 
the animal to rescue the child. Only after a prolonged pur- 
suit does he achieve his purpose, and, not knowing how 
else to dispose of the babe, carries it to a neighboring 
castle, where the lady gladly adopts it, because she and 
hei" husband have vainly awaited an heir. Sir Calespine 
now discovers he is unable to retrace his steps to his 
wounded companion, who soon after is found by a gentle 
savage. This man is trying to take her to some place of 
safety when overtaken by Arthur and Timias, who, seeing 
Serena in his company, fancy she is his captive. She, how- 
ever, hastens to assure them the wild man is more than 


kind and relates what has occiorred. As Serena and Timias 
have both been poisoned by the bites of the Blatant Beast, 
Arthur takes them to a hermit, who undertakes to cure 
them, but finds it a hopeless task. 

The learned hermit's healing arts having all proved 
vain, he finally resorts to prayer to cure his guests, who, 
when healed, decide to set out together in quest of Sir 
Calespine and Arthur. The latter has meantime departed 
with the wild man, hoping to overtake Sir Turpine, who 
escaped from Radigonde. They track the villain to his 
castle and, forcing an entrance, fight with him, sparing his 
life only because the lady of the castle pleads in his behalf. 

Sir Turpine now succeeds in persuading two knights to 
pursue and attack Sir Arthur, but this hero proves too 
strong to be overcome, and, after disarming both assail- 
ants, demands why they have attacked him. When they 
reveal Turpine 's treachery, Arthur regrets having spared 
his opponent, and decides that having overcome him once 
by force he will now resort to strategy. He, therefore, lies 
down, pretending to be asleep, while one of the knights 
rides back to report his death to Turpine. This plan is 
duly carried out, and Sir Turpine, coming to gloat upon 
his fallen foe, is seized by Arthur, who hangs him to a 
neighboring tree. 

Meantime Serena and Timias jog along until they meet 
a lady and a fool (Disdainjad^^coni), who are compelled 
by Cupid to wander through the world, rescuing as many 
people as they have made victims. When thC' fool attempts 
to seize Timias, Serena, terrified, flees shrieking into the 

Before long Sir Artegall manages to overtake his 
squire, driven by Scorn and Disdain, and immediately 
frees him. Then, hearing what penalty Cupid has imposed 
upon the couple, he decides they are sufficiently punished 
for the wrong they have done and lets them go. 

Meanwhile Serena has wandered, until, utterly ex- 
hausted, she lies down to rest. While sleeping she is sur- 
rounded by savages, who propose to sacrifice her to their 


god. They are on the point of slaying Serena when Sir 
Calespine comes to her rescue, unaware at the moment that 
the lady he is rescuing from their cruel hands is his beloved 

Still pursuing the elusive Blatant Beast, Sir Cali- 
dore comes to a place where shepherds are holding a feast 
in honor of Pastorella, the adopted daughter of the farmer 
Melibee, and beloved of young Coridon, a neighboring shep- 
herd. Coridon fears Sir Calidore will prove a rival for 
the affections of Pastorella, but Calidore disarms his 
jealousy by his perfect courtesy, which in time wins Pas- 
torella 's love. 

One day the lonely Sir Calidore, seeking Pastorella, 
catches a glimpse of the Graces dancing in the forest to the 
piping of Colin Clout (a personification of Spenser) . Shortly 
after, Calidore has the good fortune to rescue Pastorella 
from a tiger, just after Coridon has deserted her through 

To reward the bravery of Calidore, who has saved her 
from death, Pastorella lavishes her smiles upon him, until 
a brigand raid brings ruin and sorrow into the shepherd 
village, for the marauders not only carry off the flocks, 
but drag Pastorella, Coridon, and Melibee off to their 
underground retreat. 

In that hopeless and dark abode the captain of the 
brigands is beginning to cast lustful glances upon Pastor- 
ella, when merchants arrive to purchase their captives as 
slaves. The captain refuses to part with Pastorella 
although he is anxious to sell Coridon and Melibee, but the 
merchants insist upon having the maid, and seeing they 
cannot obtain her by fair means resolve to employ force. 
The result is a battle, in the midst of which Coridon escapes, 
Melibee and the brigand captain are slain, and Pastorella 
faints and is deemed dead. 

Sir Calidore, who has been absent for a while, comes 
back to find the shepherd village destroyed and Coridon 
wandering disconsolate among its ruins. From him he 
learns all that has happened, and, going in quest of Pas- 


torella's remains, discovers she is alive. Then he manages 
ly stratagem not only to rescue her, but to slay merchants 
and robbers and recover the stolen flocks and also much 
booty. All the wealth thus obtained is bestowed upon 
Coridon to indemnify him for the loss of Pastorella, who 
accompanies her true love Calidore during the rest of 
his journeys. 

Being still in quest of the ever fleeing Blatant Beast, 
Calidore conducts PastoreUa to the castle of Belgard, whose 
master and mistress are passing sad because they lost their 
only child in infancy. Wondering how such a loss could 
have befallen them, Calidore learns that knight and lady, 
being secretly married, entrusted their child to a hand- 
maiden, ordering her to provide for its safety in some way, 
as it was impossible they should acknowledge its existence 
then. The maid, having ascertained that the babe bore on 
her breast a certain birth-mark, basely abandoned her in 
the forest, where she was found and adopted by Melibee. 

It is during Pastorella 's sojourn in this castle that the 
lady discovers on her breast the birth-mark, which proves 
she is her long-lost daughter. While Pastorella is thus 
happy in the company of her parents, Calidore overtakes 
the Blatant Beast, and leads it safely muzzled through 
admiring throngs to Gloriana's feet. But, strange to relate, 
this able queen does not keep the monster securely chained, 
for it soon breaks bonds, and the poet closes with the state- 
ment that it is again ranging through the country, this 
time tearing poems to pieces ! 


Book I. After intimating he intends "no middle flight," 
but proposes to ''justify the ways of God to man," Milton 
states the fall was due to the serpent, who, in revenge for 
being cast out of heaven with his hosts, induced the mother 
of mankind to sin. He adds how, hurled from the ethereal 
sky to the bottomless pit, Satan lands in a burning lake of 
asphalt. There, oppressed by the sense of lost happiness 

By Gustave Dore 


and lasting pain, he casts his eyes about him, and, flames 
making the darkness visible, beholds those enveloped in his 
doom suffering the same dire pangs. Full of immortal hate, 
unconquerable will, and a determination never to submit 
or yield, Satan, confident his companions will not fail him, 
and enriched by past experiences, determines to continue 
disputing the mastery of heaven from the Almighty. 

Beside Satan, on the burning marl, lies Beelzebub, his 
bold compeer, who dreads lest the Almighty comes after 
them and further punish them. But Satan, rejoining that 
"to be weak is miserable, doing or suffering," urges that 
they try and pervert God's aims. Then, gazing upward, 
he perceives God has recalled his avenging hosts, that the 
rain of sulphur has ceased, and that lightning no longer 
furrows the sky. He, therefore, deems this a fitting oppor- 
tunity to rise from the burning lake, reconnoitre their new 
place of abode, and take measures to redeem their losses. 

" Seest thou yon dreary plain, forlorn and wild. 
The seat of desolation, void of light, 
Save what the glimmering of these livid flames 
Casts pale and dreadful? Thither let us tend 
From oS the tossing of these fiery waves, 
There rest, if any rest can harbor there. 
And, reassembling our afflicted powers, 
Consult how we may henceforth most offend 
Our enemy; our own loss how repair; 
How overcome this dire calamity; 
What reinforcement we may gain from hope; 
If not, what resolution from despair." 

Striding through parting flames to a neighboring hill, 
Satan gazes around him, contrasting the mournful gloom 
of this abode with the refulgent light to which he has been 
accustomed, and, notwithstanding the bitter contrast, con- 
cluding, "it is better to reign in heU than serve in heaven," 
ere he bids Beelzebub call the fallen angels. 

His moon-like shield behind him, Beelzebub summons 
the legions lying on the asphalt lake, "thick as autumn 
leaves that strew the brooks of VaUombroso." Like guilty 
sentinels caught sleeping, they hastily arise, and, numerous 
as the locusts which ravaged Egypt, flutter around the cope 



of hell before alighting at their master's feet. Among them 
Milton descries various idols, later to be worshipped in 
Palestine, Egypt, and Greece. Then, contrasting the down- 
cast appearance of this host with its brilliancy in heaven, 
he goes on to describe how they saluted Satan's banner 
with "a shout that tore hell's conclave and beyond frighted 
the reign of Chaos and old Night." Next, their standards 
fluttering in the breeze, they perform their wonted evolu- 
tions, and Satan, seeiag so mighty a host still at his dis- 
posal, feels his heart distend with pride. 

Although he realizes these spirits have forfeited heaven 
to follow him, he experiences merely a passing remorse 
ere he declares the strife they waged was not inglorious, 
and that although once defeated they may yet repossess 
their native seat. He suggests that, as they now know the 
exact force of their opponent and are satisfied they cannot 
overcome him by force, they damage the new world which 
the Almighty has recently created, for submission is un- 
thinkable weakness. 

To make their new quarters habitable, the fallen angels, 
under Mammon's direction, mine gold from the neighboring 
hills and mould it into bricks, wherewith they erect Pande- 
monium, "the high eapitol of Satan and his peers." This 
hall, constructed with speed and ease, is brightly illtiminated 
by means of naphtha, and, after Satan and his staff have 
entered, the other fallen angels crowd beneath its roof in 
the shape of pygmies, and "the great consult" begius. 

Book II. On a throne of dazzling splendor sits Satan, 
surrounded by his peers. Addressing his followers, he de- 
clares that, having forfeited the highest position, he has 
lost more than they, and that, since he suffers the greatest 
pain, none will envy him his preeminence. When he bids 
them suggest what they shall do, Moloch votes in favor of 
war, stirring up his companions with a belligerent speech. 
Belial, who is versed in making "the worse appear the 
better reason," urges guile instead of warfare, for they 
have tested the power of the Almighty and know he can 
easily outwit their plans. In his turn. Mammon favora 


neither force nor guile, but suggests that, since riches 
abound in this region, they content themselves with piling 
up treasures. 

All having been heard, the fallen angels decide, since 
it is impossible again to face Michael's dreaded sword, they* 
will adopt Beelzebub's suggestion and try «m[ find out 
whether they cannot settle more comfortably in the recently 
created world. This decided, Satan inquires who will 
undertake to reconnoitre, and, as no one volunteers, de- 
clares that the mission of greatest difficulty and danger 
rightly belongs to him, bidding the fallen angels mean- 
while keep watch lest further ill befall them. This decision 
is so enthusiastically applauded that ever since an over- 
whelming tumult has been termed "Pandemonium," like 
Satan's hall. 

The "consult" ended, the angels resume their wonted 
size and scatter through hell, some exploring its recesses, 
where they discover huge rivers, regions of fire and ice, 
and hideous monsters, while others beguile their time by 
arguing of "foreknowledge, will, fate," and discussing 
questions of philosophy, or join in antiphonal songs. 

Meanwhile Satan has set out on his dreadful journey, 
wending his way straight to the gates of Hades, before 
which stand two formidable shapes, one woman down to 
the waist and thence scaly dragon, while the other, a grim, 
skeleton-like shape, wears a royal crown and brandishes a 
spear. Seeing Satan approach, this monster threatens him, 
whereupon a dire fight would have ensued, had not the 
female stepped between them, declaring she is Sin, Satan's 
daughter, and that in an incestuous union they two 
produced Death, whom even they cannot subdue. She adds 
that she dares not unlock the gates, but, when Satan urges 
that if she will only let him pass, she and Death will be 
supplied with congenial occupations in the new world, she 
produces a key, and, "rolling toward the gates on scaly 
folds," flings wide the massive doors which no infernal 
power can ever close again. Through these gaping portals 
one now descries Chaos, where hot and cold, moist and 


dry contend for mastery, and where Satan will liave to 
make his way through the elements in confusion to reach 
the place whither he is bound. 

The poet now graphically describes how, by means of 
his wings or on foot, Satan scrambles up high battlements 
and plunges down deep abysses, thus gradually working 
his way to the place where Chaos and Night sit enthroned, 
contemplating the world "which hangs from heaven by a 
golden chain. ' ' Addressing these deities, Satan commiser- 
ates them for having lost Tartarus, now the abode of 
the fallen angels, as well as the region of light occupied 
by the new world. When he proposes to restore to them 
that part of their realm by frustrating God's plans, they 
gladly speed him toward earth, whither "full fraught 
with mischievous revenge accursed in an accursed hour he 

Book III. After a pathetic invocation to light, the 
offspring of heaven, whose rays will never shine through 
his darkness, Milton expresses a hope that like other bliad 
poets and seers he may describe all the more clearly what 
is ever before his intellectual sight. Then he relates how 
the Eternal Father, gazing downward, contemplates hell, 
the newly-created world, and the wide cleft between, where 
he descries Satan * ' hovering in the dun air sublime. ' ' Sum- 
moning his hosts, the Almighty addresses his Only Be- 
gotten Son, — ^whose arrival in heaven has caused Satan's 
rebellion, — and, pointing out the Adversary, declares he is 
bent on revenge which will redound on his own head. 
Then God adds that, although the angels feU. by their own 
suggestion, and are hence excluded from all hope of re- 
demption, man will fall deceived by Satan, so that, although 
he will thus incur death, he will not forever be unf orgiven 
if some one will pay the penalty of his sin. Because none 
of the angels feel holy enough to make so great a sacrifice, 
there is "silence in heaven," until the Son of God, "in 
whom all fulness dwells of love divine," seeing man will 
be lost unless he interferes, declares his willingness to sur- 
render to death all of himself that can die. He entreats. 


however, that the Father will not leave him in the loath- 
some grave, but will permit his soul to rise victorious, lead- 
ing to heaven those ransomed from sin, death, and hell 
through his devotion. The angels, hearing this proposal, 
are seized with admiration, and the Father, bending a 
loving glance upon the Son, accepts his sacrifice, proclaim- 
ing he shall in due time appear on earth in the flesh to 
take the place of our first father, and that, just "as in 
Adam all were lost, so in him all shall be saved." Then, 
further to recompense his Son for his devotion, God prom- 
ises he shall reign his equal for ever and judge mankind, 
ere he bids the heavenly host worship their new master. 
Eemoving their crowns of amaranth and gold, the angels 
kneel before Christ in adoration, and, tuning their harps, 
sing the praises of Father and Son, proclaiming the latter 
"Saviour of man." 

While the angels are thus occupied, Satan, speeding 
through Chaos, passes through a place peopled by the 
idolatries, superstitions, and vanities of the world, all of 
which are to be punished here later on. Then, past the 
stairway leading up to heaven, he hurries to a passage 
leading down to earth, toward which he whirls through 
space like a timibler pigeon, landing at last upon the sun. 
There, in the guise of a stripling cherub, Satan teUs the 
archangel Uriel that, having been absent at the time of 
creation, he longs to behold the earth so as to glorify God. 
Thereupon Uriel proudly rejoins he witnessed the per- 
formance, and describes how at God's voice darkness fled 
and solids converged into spheres, which began to roll 
around their appointed orbits. Then he points out to Satan 
the newly-created earth, whither the Evil Spirit eagerly 

Thus said, he turned; and Satan, bowing low. 
As to superior spirits is wont in heaven, 
Where honor due and reverence none neglects, 
Took leave, and toward the coast of earth beneath, 
Down from the ecliptic, sped with hoped success, 
Throws his steep flight in many an airy wheel. 
Nor stayed, till on Niphates' top he lights. 


Book IV. Wishing his voice were loud enough to warn 
our first parents of coming woe and thus forestall the 
misfortunes ready to pounce upon them, the poet de- 
scribes how Satan, "with hell raging in his heart," gazes 
from the hill, upon which he has alighted, into Paradise. 
The fact that he is outcast both from heaven and earth 
fills Satan with alternate sorrow and fierce wrath, under 
impulse of which emotions his face becomes fearfully dis- 
torted. This change and his fierce gestures are seen by 
Uriel, who curiously foUows his flight, and who now for 
the first time suspects he may have escaped from hell. 

After describing the wonders of Eden — which far sur- 
pass aU fairy tales, — Milton relates how Satan, springing 
lightly over the dividing waU, lands within its precincts, 
and in the guise of a cormorant perches upon a tree, whence 
he beholds two God-like shapes "in naked majesty clad." 
One of these is Adam, formed for contemplation and valor, 
the other Eve, formed for softness and grace. They two 
sit beneath a tree, the beasts of the earth playing peace- 
fully around them, and Satan, watching them, wonders 
whether they are destined to occupy his former place in 
heaven, and vows he will ruin their present happiness and 
deliver them up to woe ! After arguing he must do so to 
secure a better abode for himself and his followers, the 
fiend transforms himself first into one beast and then into 
another, and, having approached the pair unnoticed, listens 
to their conversation. In this way he learns Eve's wonder 
on first opening her eyes and gazing around her on the 
flowers and trees, her amazement at her own reflection in 
the water, and her following a voice which promised to lead 
her to her counterpart, who would make her mother of 
the human race. But, the figure she thus foimd proving 
less attractive than the one she had just seen in the waters, 
she was about to retreat, when Adam claimed her as the 
other half of his being. Since then, they two have dwelt in 
bliss in this garden, where everything is at their disposal 
save the fruit of one tree. Thus Satan discovers the pro- 
hibition laid upon our first parents. He immediately de- 


cides to bring about their ruin by inciting them to scorn 
divine commands, assuring them that the knowledge of 
good and evil will make them equal to God, and having 
discovered this method of compassing his purpose, steals 
away to devise means to reach his ends. 

Meantime, near the eastern gate of Paradise, Gabriel, 
chief of the angelic host, watches the joyful evolutions of 
the guards who at nightfall are to patrol the boundaries of 
Paradise. While thus engaged, Uriel comes glancing down 
through the evening air on a sunbeam, to warn him that 
one of the banished crew has escaped, and was seen at 
noon near these gates. In return Gabriel assures Uriel no 
creature of any kind passed through them, and that if an 
evil spirit overleapt the earthly bounds he will be discov- 
ered before morning, no matter what shape he has assumed. 
While Uriel returns to his post in the sun, gray twilight 
steals over the earth, and Michael, having appointed bands 
of angels to circle Paradise in opposite directions, despatches 
two of his lieutenants to search for the hidden foe. 

Our first parents, after uniting in prayer, are about to 
retire, when Eve, who derives all her information from 
Adam, asks why the stars shine at night, when they are 
asleep and cannot enjoy them? In reply Adam states that 
the stars gem the sky to prevent darkness from resuming 
its sway, and assures his wife that while they sleep angels 
mount guard, for he has often heard their voices at mid- 
night. Then the pair enter the bower selected for their 
abode by the sovereign planter, where the loveliest flowers 
bloom in profusion, and where no bird, beast, insect, or 
worm dares venture. 

In the course of their search, the angels Ithuiiel and 
Zephon reach this place in time to behold a toad crouching 
by the ear of Eve, trying by devilish arts to reach the 
organs of her fancy. Touched by Ithuriel's spear, — ^whieh 
has the power of compelling all substances to assume their 
real form, — ^this vile creature instantly assumes a demon 
shape. On recognizing a fiend, Ithuriel demands how he 
escaped and why he is here. Whereupon Satan haughtily 


rejoins that the time was when none would have dared 
treat him so unceremoniously, nor have needed to ask his 
name, seeing all would instantly have known him. It is 
only then that Zephon recognizes their former superior, 
Lucifer, and contemptuously informs him his glory is so 
dimmed by sin, it is no wonder they could not place him. 
Both angels now escort their captive to Gabriel, who, recog- 
nizing the prisoner from afar, also comments on his faded 
splendor. Then, addressing Satan, Gabriel demands why 
he broke his prescribed bonds? Satan defiantly retorts 
that prisoners invariably try to escape, that no one courts 
torture, and that, if God meant to keep the fiends forever 
in durance vilie, he should have barred the gates more 
securely. But, even by escaping from Tartarus, Satan can- 
not evade his punishment, and Gabriel warns him he has 
probably increased his penalty sevenfold by his disobedience. 
Then he tauntingly inquires whether pain is less intoler- 
able to the archfiend's subordinates than to himself, and 
whether he has already deserted his followers. Wrath- 
fully Satan boasts that, fiercest in battle, he alone had 
courage enough to undertake this journey, to ascertain 
whether it were possible to secure a pleasanter place of 
abode. Because in the course of his reply he contradicts 
himself, the angel terms him a liar and hypocrite, and bids 
him depart, vowing, should he ever be found lurking near 
Paradise again, he wiU be dragged back to the infernal pit 
and chained fast so he cannot escape ! This threat arouses 
Satan's scorn and makes him so insolent, that the angels, 
turning fiery red, close around him, threatening him with 
their spears! Glancing upward and perceiving by the 
position of the heavenly scales that the issue of a combat 
would not be in his favor, Satan wrathfuUy flees with the 
vanisljing shades of night. 

Booh V. Morning having dawned, Adam awakens re- 
freshed, only to notice the flushed cheeks and discom- 
posed tresses of his companion, from whom, when he 
awakens her, he learns of a dream wherein a voice urged 
her to go forth and walk in the garden. Eve goes on to 


describe how, gliding beneath, the trees, she came to the 
one bearing the forbidden fruit, and descried among its 
branches a winged shape, which bade her taste of the 
apples and not despise the boon of knowledge. Although 
chilled with horror at the mere suggestion. Eve admits that 
she yielded, because the voice assured her one taste would 
enable her to flutter through the air like the angels and 
perchance visit God ! Her desire to enjoy such a privilege 
became so intense that when the fruit was pressed to her 
lips she tasted it, and had no sooner done so than she 
soared upward, only to sink down and awaken at Adam's 
touch ! 

Comforting his distressed consort, Adam leads her into 
the garden to prime over-luxuriant branches and to train 
vines from tree to tree. While they are thus occupied, the 
Almighty summons Eaphael, and, after informing him 
Satan has escaped from hell and has found his way to 
Paradise to disturb the felicity of man, bids the archangel 
hasten down to earth, and, conversing "as friend with 
friend" with Adam, warn him that he had the power to 
retain or forfeit his happy state, and caution him against 
the wiles of the fiend, lest, after wilfully transgressing, 
man should claim he had not been forewarned. 

Past choirs of angels, through the golden gate, and down 
the mighty stairs, Raphael flits, reachiag earth in the shape 
of a six-winged cherub, whose iridescent plumes seem to 
have been dipped in heaven's own dyes. On beholding this 
visitor, Adam bids Eve collect her choicest fruit, and, 
while she hastens away on "hospitable thoughts intent," 
advances to meet Raphael, knowing he brings some divine 
message. After hailing Eve with the salutation later used 
for Mary, the angel proceeds to Adam's lodge and shares 
his meal, admitting that the angels in heaven partake of 
spiritual food only, although they are endowed with senses 
like man. 

On discovering he may question Raphael, — save in re- 
gard to matters which are to be withheld for a while 
longer, — Adam queries about things which have troubled 


him. Inferring from the angel's words that their bliss is 
not secure, he learns that as long as he proves obedient his 
happiness will continue, but that, having been created as 
free as the angels, he can choose his lot. When Adam asks 
in regard to heavenly things, Raphael wonders how he can 
relate, in terms intelligible to finite mind, things which 
even angels fail to conceive in their entirety and which it 
may not be lawful to reveal. Still, knowing he can vouch- 
safe a brief outline of aU that has hitherto occurred, Raphael 
describes how the Almighty, after creating the Son, bade 
the angels bow down and worship him. He states that, 
during the night following this event, Lucifer, angry be- 
cause he was no longer second in heaven, withdrew to that 
quarter of the sky entrusted to his keeping, and there sug- 
gested to Beelzebub rebellion against God, who required 
them to pay servile tribute to his Son ! Arguing that they 
will be gradually reduced to slavery, Satan induces one- 
third of the heavenly hosts to rebel, for only one of his 
followers, Abdiel, refuses to believe his specious words. 
In his indignation, Abdiel bursts forth into flame, de- 
nounces Lucifer, and departs to report to the Almighty 
what he has heard. He alone proves faithful among the 
faithless, so, as he passes out from among them, the rebel 
angels, resenting his attitude, overwhelm him with their 

From amidst them forth he passed. 
Long way through hostile scorn, which he sustained 
Superior, nor of violence feared aught; 
And with retorted scorn his back he turned 
On those proud towers to swift destruction doomed. 

The Almighty, however, does not require Abdiel's warn- 
ing, for the all-seeing eye has already descried what has 
occurred, and has pointed out to the Son how Lucifer, de- 
voured by pride, is about to rise up against them. 

Book TI. In spite of the speed with which he travels, 
Abdiel requires all night to cross the distance which sepa- 
rates the apostate angels from the heavenly throne. The 
news he bears being already known in heaven, the ang 


joyfully -welcome him and conduct him to the throne, whence, 
from a golden cloud, issues a voice proclaiming ' ' well done. ' ' 
Next God bids Michael lead forth a host equal in number 
to the godless crew arraying itself in battle order to dis- 
pute from the Almighty the sovereignty of heaven. The 
divine orders are to oppose Lucifer and hurl him into the 
gulf of Tartarus, whose fiery mouth will open wide to re- 
ceive him. A moment later trumpets sound in heaven, and 
the angelic legions sally forth to battle for God and for his 
Messiah, hymning the Eternal Father. The evil angels, 
whose glory has not yet been dimmed, meet this host in 
squadrons, at the head of which rides Lucifer (or Satan 
as he is generally called after he becomes an apostate), 
in his sun-bright chariot. On beholding him, Abdiel mar- 
vels because he still retains a God-like semblance, and 
warns him he will soon pay the penalty of his folly. In 
return Satan terms Abdiel a common deserter, and over- 
whelms him with scorn, to which this angel pays little 
heed, realizing that by serving a divine master he is freer 
than independent Satan. 

After exchanging Homeric taunts, these two begin fight- 
ing, and Abdiel 's first dart causes the archenemy to recoil 
and almost sink to the ground. But, when the divine host 
clamor that Satan is overcome, he promptly recovers his 
footing, and, retreating into the ranks of his army, directs 
their resistance to the foe. The battle now rages with such 
fury that the heavens resound. Many deeds of eternal 
fame are wrought, for Satan proves almost equal to Michael, 
who with his two-handed sword strikes down whole 
squadrons at one blow. But wounds inflicted on angels, 
even when fallen, are no sooner made than healed, so those 
who sink down disabled are soon back in the thick of the 
fight as strong as ever. The moment comes, however, when 
Michael's sword inflicts so deep a wound in Satan's side 
that, for the first time, he experiences pain. Seeing him 
fall, his adherents bear him away from the field of battle, 
where he is immediately healed, "for spirits, that live 
throughout vital in every part, . . . cannot but by 


annihilation die. " Thus temporarily deprived of his great- 
est opponent, Michael attacks Moloch, while Uriel, Raphael, 
and Abdiel vanquish other potent angels who have dared 
to rebel against God. 

After describing the battle-field, strewn with shattered 
armor and broken chariots, the poet pictures the dismay 
in the ranks of the rebel angels, and describes how Satan 
drew away his troops so they might rest and be ready to 
renew the fray on the morrow. In the silence of that 
night, he also consults with his adherents how to fight to 
better advantage on the morrow, insisting that they now 
know they can never be permanently wounded. The 
demons feel confident that, granted .better arms, they could 
secure the advantage, so, when one of their number sug- 
gests the manufacture of cannon, all gladly welcome the 
idea. Under Satan's direction some of the evil angels draw 
from the ground metal, which, molten and poured into 
moulds, furnishes the engines of destruction they are seek- 
ing. Meanwhile others collect ingredients for ammunition, 
and, when morning dawns, they have a number of weapons 
ready for use, which they cunningly conceal in the centre 
of their fourfold phalanx as they advance. 

In the midst of the second encounter, Satan's squadrons 
suddenly draw aside to let these cannons belch forth the 
destruction with which they are charged, an unexpected 
broadside which fells the good angels by thousands; but, 
although hosts of them are thus laid low, others spring 
forward to take their place. On seeing the havoc wrought 
by their guns, Satan and his host openly rejoice; but the 
good angels, perceiving arms are useless against this artil- 
lery, throw them away, and, picking up the hills, hurl them 
at their opponents, whom they bury beneath the weight of 
mountains. In fact, had not the Almighty checked this 
outburst of righteous anger, the fiends would doubtless 
have been buried so deep they never would have been able 
to reappear ! 

On the third day the Almighty proclaims that, as both 
forces are equal in strength, the fighting will never end 


unless he interferes. He therefore summons his only be- 
gotten Son to wield the thunder-bolts, his exclusive 
weapon. Ever ready to do his Father's will, the Son ac- 
cepts, mounts a chariot borne by four cherubs, and sets 
forth, attended by twenty thousand saints, who wish to 
witness his triumph. On seeing him approach, the good 
angels exult, while the wicked are seized with terror, 
although they disdain to flee. Bidding the angeUc host 
watch him triumph single-handed over the foe, the Son of 
God changes his benignant expression into one of wrath, 
and hurls his thunder-bolts to such purpose that the rebels 
long for the mountains to cover them as on the previous 
day. "With these divine weapons Christ ruthlessly drives' 
Satan and his hosts out of the confines of heaven, over th6 
edge of the abyss, and hurls them all down into the bottom- 
less pit, sending after them peal after peal of thunderi 
together with dazzling flashes of lightning, but mercifully! 
withholding his deadly bolts, as he purposes not to annihi-' 
late, but merely to drive the rebels out of heaven. Thus, 
with a din and clatter which the poet graphically describes, 
Satan and his host fall through space and land nine days 
later in the flery lake ! 

After pursuing the foe far enough to make sure they 
will not return, the Messiah re-enters heaven in triumph, 
greeted by saints and angels with hymns of praise. This 
account of the war in heaven concluded, Raphael informs 
Adam that Satan, leader of these fallen angels, envying 
his happy state, is now plotting to seduce him from his 
allegiance to God, and thus compel him to share his eternal 

" But listen not to his temptations ; warn 
Thy weaker; let it profit thee to have heard 
By terrible example the reward 
Of disobedience; firm they might have stood. 
Yet fell; remember, and fear to transgress." 

Booh VII. At Adam's request Raphael next explains 
how the earth was created, saying that, as Satan had se- 
duced one-third of heaven's inhabitants, God decided to 


create a new race, whence angels could be recruited to 
repeople his realm. In terms simple enough to make him- 
self understood, Raphael depicts how the Son of God, 
passing through heaven's gates and viewing the immeasur- 
able abyss, decided to evolve from it a thing of beauty. He 
adds that the Creator made use of the divine compasses, 
"prepared in God's eternal store," to circumiscribe the 
universe, thus setting its bounds at equal distance from its 
centre. Then his spirit, brooding over the abyss, permeated 
Chaos with vital warmth, until its various components 
sought their appointed places, and earth "self-balanced on 
her centre hung." Next the light evolved from the deep 
began to travel from east to west, and "God saw that it 
was good." 

On the second day God created the firmament, on the 
third separated water from dry land, and on the fourth 
covered the earth with plants and trees, each bearing seed 
to propagate its kind. Then came the creation of the sun, 
moon, and stars to rule day and night and divide light from 
darkness, and on the fifth day the creation of the birds and 
fishes, whom God bade multiply until they filled the earth. 
Only on the sixth and last day, did God call intp life cattle 
and creeping things, which crawled out of the earth full 
grown and perfect limbed. Then, as there still lacked a 
creature endowed with reason to rule the rest, God created 
man in his own image, fashioning him from clay by breath- 
ing life into his nostrils. After thus creating Adam and 
his consort Eve, God blessed both, bidding them be fruit- 
ful, multiply and fill the earth, and hold dominion over 
every living thing upon it. Having placed creatures so 
richly endowed in Paradise, God left them free to enjoy 
all it contained, save the fruit of the tree of knowledge 
of good and evil, in regard to which he warned them "in 
the day thou eatest thereof, thou diest." Then, his work 
finished, the Creator returned to heaven, where he and the 
angels spent the seventh day resting from their work. 

Book VIII. Not daring to intrude upon the conversa- 
tion of Adam and Raphael, Eve waits at a distance, know- 


ing her husband will tell her all she need learn. Mean- 
while, further to satisfy his curiosity, Adam inquires how 
the sun and stars move so quietly in their orbit? Eaphael 
rejoins that, although the heavens are the book of God, 
wherein man can read his wondrous works, it is difficult 
to make any one understand the distances separating the 
various orbs. To give Adam a slight idea of them, Eaphael 
declares that he — ^whose motions are not slow — set out from 
heaven at early mom and arrived at Eden only at midday. 
Then he describes the three rotations to which our earth is 
subject, names the six planets, and assures Adam God 
holds them all in his hand and prescribes their paths and 

In his turn, Adam entertains Eaphael with a descrip- 
tion of his amazement when he awoke on a flowery hiDside, 
to see the sky, the woods, and the streams; his gradual 
acquaintance with his own person and powers, the naming 
of the animals, and his awe when the divine master led him 
into Paradise and warned him not to touch the central 
tree. After describing his loneliness on discovering that 
all living creatures went about in pairs, Adam adds that, 
after he had complained to the Creator, a deep sleep fell 
upon him, during which a rib was removed from his side 
from which to fashion Eve. Joined by the Creator him- 
self to this "bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh," Adam 
declares since then they have enjoyed nuptial bliss, and 
artlessly inquires whether angels marry and are given in 
marriage too. Whereupon Eaphael rejoins that in heaven 
love so refines the thoughts and enlarges the heart that 
none save spiritual communion is necessary to secure per- 
fect bliss. Then, seeing the sun about to set, the angel 
takes leave of Adam and wends his way back to heaven, 
while the father of mankind rejoins his waiting wife. 

Book IX. The poet warns us there will be no more 
question of talk between man and angels, as his song 
must now change to a tragic note, because vile distrust has 
entered Paradise. Then he describes how Satan, driven 
away from Eden by Gabriel, circles around the' earth 


seven days aad nights without rest, and at the end of 
that time reenters Paradise, by means of an underground 
river and in the guise of a mist. Then, perched as a bird 
upon the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan decides 
to approach our first parents in the guise of a loathsome 
serpent and seek his revenge, although fully aware the con- 
sequences wiU recoil upon himself. Next, finding a ser- 
pent asleep, Satan enters it, and meanders along the paths 
of Paradise, hoping to find if^dam and Eve apart, for he 
deems it will be easier to work his ends on one at a time. 
Morning having come, Adam and Eve awake, and after 
their usual song of praise set out to attend the garden. But 
Eve insists that as long as thefy^ are together they allow 
themselves to be distracted from their labors, and pro- 
poses that they work independently until the noon hour 
brings them together to share their simple repast. Although 
reluctant at first to be parted from his beloved, Adam, 
hearing her exclaim he does not trust her, yields to her 
pleading. Thus, the serpent, ranging through the garden, 
perceives Eve alone among the roses, and rejoices to think 
he can make his first attempt upon what he rightly deems 
the weaker vessel. Although not without compunction, he 
wends his way toward her and startles her by addressing 
her in a human voice. When she inquires how it happens 
a beast can communicate with her, the serpent rejoins that, 
although at first speechless like other beasts, he no sooner 
tasted a certain fruit than he was gifted with greater 
knowledge than he had yet enjoyed and endowed with the 
power of speech. Deeming the fruit of such a tree might 
have equally beneficial effects upon her and make her more 
nearly equal to her consort, Eve longs to partake of it too, 
and readily follows her guide to the centre of the garden. 
But, when the serpent points out the forbidden tree, Eve 
prepares to withdraw, until the tempter assures her God's 
prohibition was not intended to be obeyed. He argues that, 
although he has tasted the fruit he continues to live and 
has obtained new faculties, and by this specious reasoning 
induces Eve to pluck and eat the fruit. As it touches her 


lips, nature gives "signs of woe," and the guilty serpent 
slinks back into the thicket, leaving Eve to gorge upon the 
fruit, whose taste affords her keener delight than she ever 
experienced before. In laudatory terms she now promises 
to care for the tree, and then wonders whether Adam will 
perceive any difference in her, and whether it will be wise 
to impart to him the happiness she has tasted. Although 
at first doubtful. Eve, fearing lest death may ensue and 
Adam replace her by another^partaier, determines to induce 
her husband to share this food too, for she loves Adam too 
dearly to live without him. 

"Confinned then I resolve, 
Adam shall share with me in bliss or woe: 
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths 
I could endure, without him live no life." 

This decision reached. Eve hastens to Adam, and vol- 
ubly explains that the tree is not what God depicted, 
for the serpent, having tasted of its fruit, has been endowed 
with eloquence so persuasive that he has induced her to 
taste it too. Horror-stricken, Adam wails his wife is lost; 
then he wonders how he will be able to exist without her, 
and is amazed to think she should have yielded to the very 
first onslaught of their foe. But, after this first outburst 
of grief, he vows he will share her doom and die with 
her. Having made a decision so flattering to Eve, he 
accepts the fruit which she tenders, and nature again shud- 
ders, for Adam, although not deceived, yields to tempta- 
tion because of his love for Eve. No sooner have both fed 
upon the tree than its effects become patent, for it kindles 
within them the never-before-experieneed sense of lust. The 
couple therefore emerge on the morrow from their bower, 
their innocence lost, and overwhelmed, for the first time 
in their lives, by a crushing sense of shame. Good and evil 
being equally well known to him, Adam reproaches his 
wife, wailing that never more shall they behold the face of 
God, and suggests that they weave leaf-garments to hide 
their nakedness. So the first couple steal iato the thicket 



to fashion fig-leaf girdles, which they bind about them, re- 
viling each other for having forfeited their former happy 

Book X. Meantime, Eve's fall has been duly reported in 
heaven by the angelio guards, whom the Almighty reas- 
sures, saying he knew the Evil Spirit would succeed and 
man would fall. Then the same voice decrees that, as man 
has transgressed, his sentence shaU. be pronounced, and that 
the one best fitted for such a task is the Son, man's mediator. 
Ready to do his Father's will in heaven as upon earth, the 
Son departs, promising to temper justice with mercy, so 
that God's goodness will be made manifest, and adding that 
the doom of the absent Satan shall also be pronounced. 

Escorted to the gates of heaven by the angelic host, the 
Redeemer descends alone to earth, where he arrives in the 
garden in the cool of the evening. At his summons Adam 
and Eve emerge from their hiding-place, and, when Adam 
shamefacedly claims they hid because they were naked, his 
maker demonstrates how his very words convict him of 
guilt, and inquires whether they have eaten of the for- 
bidden fruit. Unable to deny his transgression, Adam 
states he is in a quandary, for he must either accuse him- 
self wrongfully or lay the guilt upon the wife whom it 
is his duty to protect. When he adds that the woman gave 
him the fruit whereof he did eat, the judge sternly demands 
whether Adam was bound to obey his consort, reminding 
him that woman was made subject to man and declaring 
that by yielding to Eve's persuasions he incurred equal 
guilt. Then, turning to the woman, the judge demands 
what she had done, and Eve, abashed, confesses the ser- 
pent beguiled her until she ate. Having thus heard both 
culprits, the judge pronounces sentence upon the serpent 
in veiled terms, for, as yet, man is not to understand what 
is divinely planned. Then, having disposed of the arch- 
enemy, he predicts Eve will bring forth her children in 
suffering and will be subject to her husband's will, ere he 
informs Adam that henceforth he will have to earn his 
bread by the sweat of his brow, for the earth will no longer 


bear fruit for Mm without labor. Having thus pronounced 
his judgment, the judge postpones the penalty of death 
indefinitely, and taking pity upon our first parents, clothes 
them in the skins of beasts, to enable them to bear the 
harsher air to which they are soon to be exposed. 

Meantime Sin and Death peer forth through hell 's open 
gateway, hoping to catch some glimpse of returning Satan. 
Weary of waiting. Sin finally suggests to Death the folly 
of remaining idle, since Satan cannot fail to succeed, and 
proposes that they foUow him over the abyss, building as 
they go a road to facilitate intercourse hereafter between 
hell and earth. This proposal charms Death, whose keen 
nostrils already descry the smell of mortal change, and 
who longs to reach earth and prey upon aU living creatures. 
These two terrible shapes, therefore, venture out through 
the waste, and by making "the hard soft and the soft 
hard," they fashion of stone and asphalt a broad highway 
from the gates of hell to the confines of the newly created 

They have barely finished this causeway when Satan — 
still in the likeness of an angel — comes flying toward them, 
for after seducing Eve he has lurked in the garden until 
from a safe hiding-place he heard the threefold sentence 
pronounced by the judge. He too does not grasp his doom, 
but, realizing that humanity is in his power, is hastening 
back to Hades to make the joyful fact known. On en- 
countering Sin and Death, Satan congratulates them upon 
their engineering skill and sends them on to work their 
will in the world, while he speeds along the path they have 
made to tell the fallen angels all that has occurred. In 
obedience to his orders a number of these are mounting 
guard, but Satan, in the guise of a ministering spirit, passes 
through their midst unheeded, and only after entering 
Pandemonium allows his native majesty to shine forth. 
On becoming aware he is once more present, the demons 
welcome him with a mighty shout. Then by an impressive 
gesture Satan imposes silence and describes his journey, 
his success, and the ease with which they can pass to and 


fro now that Sin and Death have paved their way. To 
satisfy their curiosity he further depicts by what means 
he tempted woman, and, although he admits he was cursed 
as well as the fallen, does not appear dismayed. Raising 
their voices to applaud him, his adherents are now surprised 
to hear themselves hiss, and to discover they have aU Been 
transformed into snakes. Then Satan himself, in the form of 
a dragon, guides them to a grove near by, where they climb 
the trees and greedily feed on apples of Sodom, which 
offend their taste, a performance to be renewed yearly on 
the anniversary of the temptation. 

Meanwhile, Sin and Death having entered Paradise, — 
where they are not yet allowed to touch hinnan beings, — ^lay 
low herbs, fruit, flowers, and beasts, all of which are now 
their legitimate prey. Pointing out their ravages, the 
Almighty explains that, had man not disobeyed, these de- 
spoilers would never have preyed upon the newly created 
world, where they are now to have full sway until the Son 
hurls them back into Hades. On hearing these words, the 
angels praise the ways of the Almighty, which are ever just, 
and laud his Son as the destined restorer of mankind. While 
they are thus employed, the Almighty directs some of his 
attendants to move the sun, so as to subject the earth to 
alternate cold and heat, thus making winter follow summer. 
The planets, too, are to shed malignant influences upon 
the earth, whose axle is slightly turned, while violent winds 
cause devastation, and enmity is kindled between creatures 
which have hitherto lived in peace. Adam, on perceiving 
these changes, becomes conscious they are the effect of 
his transgression, and is plunged in such grief that God's 
order to increase and multiply seems horrible. In his grief 
he murmurs aloud, but, after a while, realizing he was 
left free to choose between good and evil, he acknowledges 
his punishment is just. The fact that God does not imme- 
diately viat upon biTn the penalty he has incurred does not, 
however, comfort him, because he longs for death to end 
his sorrows. On seeing her husband's grief, Eve now 
volunteers to go in quest of their judge, imploring him to 


visit upon her alone the penalty of sin. Her readiness to 
sacrifice herself touches Adam, who replies that, since they 
are one, they must share what awaits them. When Eve 
intimates that, since they are doomed, it will be well never 
to bear any children, Adam reminds her it is only through 
repentance they can appease their judge, and bids her not 
scorn life or its pleasures. 

Booh XI. Having reached this state of humility and 
repentance, our first parents are viewed compassionately 
by the Redeemer, who, gathering up their prayers, presents 
them to the Father as the first-fruits which have sprung 
from his mercy. 

" See, Father, what first-fruits on earth are sprung 
From thy implanted grace in man; these sighs 
And prayers, which in this golden censer, mixed 
With incense, I thy priest before thee bring, 
Fruits of more pleasing savor, from thy seed 
Sown with contrition in his heart, than those 
Which his own hand, manuring all the trees 
Of Paradise, could have produced, ere fallen 
From innocence." 

In reply to the touching pleas of this advocate, the 
heavenly Father promises the culprits shall be forgiven, 
provided their repentance is sincere, but insists that mean- 
time they be ejected from Paradise. Michael and the 
cherubs chosen for this office are instructed to mount guard 
day and night, lest the fiend return to Paradise, or the 
human pair re-enter and partake of the tree of life and 
thus escape the penalty of death. But, before driving out 
our first parents, Michael is to reveal to Adam all that 
awaits his race in the future, emphasizing the promise that 
salvation shall come through his seed. These orders re- 
ceived, the archangel wends his way down to earth, where, 
dawn having appeared, Adam and Eve once more issue 
from their bower. 

Night has brought some comfort, and Adam exclaims 
that, since the penalty of death is to be postponed, they 
must show their penitence by laboring hard, working hence- 


forth side by side as contentedly as their fallen state will 
allow. On the way to the scene of their wonted labors, 
they notice an eagle pursuing another bird and see wild 
beasts hunting one another. Besides these ominous signs, 
Adam, descrying a bright light travelling rapidly toward 
them, informs Eve some message is on its way. He is not 
mistaJken, for Michael soon emerges from this cloud of light, 
so, while Eve hurries off to prepare for his entertainment, 
Adam steps forward to receive him. 

Clad in celestial panoply, the angel announces he has 
been sent to inform Adam that although the penalty of 
death is indefinitely postponed, he is no longer to inhabit 
Paradise, but is to go forth into the world and till the 
ground from whence he sprang. Horror-stricken at these 
tidings, Adam remains mute, and Eve, hearing the decree 
from a distance, wails aloud at the thought of leaving home. 
To comfort her, the angel bids her dry her tears and 
follow her husband, making her home wherever he abides. 
Then Adam wonders whether by incessant prayer and 
penitence the Almighty could be induced to alter his de- 
cree and let them remain in Paradise, saying he hoped to 
point out to his descendants the places where he met and 
conversed with his Maker. But Michael rejoining he will 
find God everywhere invites Adam to foUow him to the 
top of a neighboring hill, explaining he has enveloped 
Eve in slumbers, which will hold her entranced while he 
reveals to Adam the earth's kingdoms and their glory. 

"Know I am sent 
To show thee what shall come in future days 
To thee and to thy offspring ; good with bad 
Expect to hear, supernal grace contending 
With sinfulness of men; thereby to learn 
True patience, and to teTnper joy with fear, 
And pious sorrow, equally inured 
By moderation either state to bear, 
Prosperous or adverse: so shalt thou lead 
Safest thy life, and best prepared endure 
Thy mortal passage when it comes. Ascend 
This hill; let Eve (for I have drenched her eyes) 
Here sleep below, while thou to foresight wakest. 
As once thou slept'st, while she to life was formed." 


From a hill in Paradise, — after purging Adam's eyes 
with three drops of water from the well of life,— Michael 
vouchsafes him a glimpse of all that is to take place upon 
our earth. Thus, Cain and Abel first pass before their 
father's eyes, but death is so unintelligible to Adam that 
the angel has to explain what it means. Overwhelmed at 
the thought that so awful a thing has come into the world 
through his transgression, Adam is further horrified when 
the angel reveals all the suffering which will visit mankind, 
explaining that, since much of it will be due to evil living, 
it behooves Adam to observe temperance in food and drink. 
But he warns him that, in spite of all precautions, old 
age will come upon him as a precursor of death. In a 
panorama Adam sees all that is to occur until the Deluge, 
and, watching Noah construct the ark, wails because his 
progeny is to be destroyed by the flood. The angel, how- 
ever, demonstrates that the righteous will be saved and 
that from them will descend a race more willing to obey 
God's commands. The dove and the rainbow, therefore, 
instil comfort into Adam's heart, as does God's promise 
that day and night, seedtime and harvest shall hold their 
course until new heavens and earth appear wherein the 
just shall dwell. 

Booh XII. Having depicted a world destroyed and 
foreshadowed a world restored, the angel shows Adam how 
man will migrate to a plain, where by means of bricks and 
bitumen an attempt will be made to erect a tower to reach 
heaven. When Adam expresses displeasure that one of 
ids race should defy God, Michael assures him he rightly 
abhors disobedience, and comforts him by revealing how 
one righteous man, in whose "seed all nations shall be 
blest," is to be brought out of that country into the Prom- 
ised Land. 

Not only does the angel name Abraham, but depicts his 
life, the captivity in Egypt, the exodus, and the forty years 
in the desert. He also vouchsafes to Adam a glimpse of 
Moses on Mount Sinai receiving the tables of the law, and 
appointing the worship which the Chosen People are to 


offer to their Creator. When Adam wonders at the number 
of laws, Michael rejoins that sin has many faces, and that, 
until blood more precious than that of the prescribed sacri- 
fices has been shed, no suitable atonement can be made. 

After describing how under the Judges and then under 
the Kings the people of Israel will continue their career, 
the angel designates Da^id as the ancestor of the Messiah, 
whose coming will be heralded by a star which will serve 
as guide to eastern sages. He adds that this Messiah will 
descend from the Most High by a virgin mother, that his 
reign will extend over all the earth, and that, by bruising 
the serpent's head, he will conquer Sin and Death. This 
promise fills Adam's heart with joy, because it partly ex- 
plains the mysterious prophecy, but, when he inquires how 
the serpent can wound such a victor's heel, Michael re- 
joins that, in order to overcome Satan, the Messiah will 
incur the penalty of death, revealing how, after living 
hated and blasphemed, he will prove by his death and 
resurrection that Sin and Death have no lasting power over 
those who believe in his name. FuU of joy at the promise 
that the Messiah will lead all ransomed souls to a happier 
Paradise than the one he has forfeited, Adam declares since 
such good is to proceed from the evil he has done he doubts 
whether he should repent. 

Between the death of Christ and his second coming, the 
angel adds that the Comforter will dwell upon earth with 
those who love their Eedeemer, helping them resist the 
onslaughts of Satan, and that in spite of temptation many 
righteous wiU ultimately reach heaven, to take the place of 
the outcast angels. 

"Till the day 
Appear of respiration to the just, 
And vengeance to the wicked, at return 
Of him so lately promised to thy aid. 
The woman's Seed, ohscurely then foretold, 
Now amplier known thy Saviour and thy Lord, 
Last in the clouds from heaven to be revealed 
In glory of the Father, to dissolve 


Satan with his perverted world, then raise 
From the conflagrant mass, purged and refined, 
New heavens, new earth, ages of endless date 
Founded in righteousness and peace and love. 
To bring forth fruits, joy, and eternal hliss." 

These instructions finished, the angel bids Adam not 
seek to know any more, enjoining upon him to add deeds 
to knowledge, to cultivate patience, temperance, and love, 
promising, if he obeys, that Paradise will reign in his heart. 
Then, pointing out that the guards placed around Eden 
are waving their flashing swords and that it is time to 
awaken Eve, he bids Adam gradually impart to her all that 
he has learned through angelic revelations. When they 
rejoin Eve, she explains how God sent her a dream which 
has soothed her heart and filled it with hope, making her 
realize that, although she has sinned and is unworthy, 
through her seed all shall be blessed. 

Then the angel takes Adam and Eve by the hand and 
leads them out by the eastern gate into the world. Gaziag 
backward, our first parents catch their last glimpse of 
Paradise and behold at the gate the angel with a flaming 
sword. Thus, hand in hand, dropping natural tears, they 
pass out into the world to select their place of rest, having 
Providence only for their guide. 


Having sung of Paradise Lost, Milton proposes as 
theme for a new epic "Paradise R^ained." In it he 
purports to sing of "deeds heroic although in secret done" 
and to describe how Christ was led into the wilderness to 
be tempted by Satan. 

Booh I. While baptizing in the Jordan, John suddenly 
beheld Christ approaching, and, although he at first de- 
murred, yielded at last to his request to baptize him too. 
While the Baptist was doing this, a heavenly voice pro- 
claimed Christ Son of God. This was heard not only by 
John and his disciples, but also by the adversary, who, 


ever since the fall, had been roaming around the world, and 
who for years past has been closely watching the promised 
Redeemer in hopes of defeating his ends. 

Suddenly realizing that the conflict between them is 
about to begin, Satan hastens back to Hades to take counsel 
with his crew. When all are assembled, he reminds them 
how long they have ruled the earth, adding that the time 
has come when their power may be wrested from them, 
and the curse spoken in Eden fulfilled. He fears Jesus is 
the promised Messiah, owing to his miraculous birth, to the 
testimony of the precursor, and to the heavenly voice when 
he was baptized. Besides he has recognized in Christ's 
lineaments the imprint of the Father's glory, and avers 
that, unless they can counteract and defeat the Son's ends, 
they will forfeit all they have gained. Realizing, however, 
that this task is far greater than the one he undertook 
centuries before, — when he winged his way through chaos 
to discover the new world and tempt our first parents, — 
he volunteers to undertake it in person, and all the evil 
spirits applaud him. This settled, Satan departs to carry 
out the second temptation. 

Meantime another assembly has been held in heaven, 
where, addressing the archangel Gabriel, the Almighty in- 
forms him he will soon see the fulfilment of the message he 
bore some thirty years previously to Mary. He adds that 
his Son, whom he has publicly recognized, is about to be 
tempted by Satan, who, although he failed in the case 
of Job, is undertaking this new task confident of success. 
The Almighty also predicts that Satan wiU again be de- 
feated, but declares Christ is as free to yield or resist as 
Adam when first created, and that before sending him out 
to encounter Sin and Death he means to strengthen him by 
a sojourn in the desert. On hearing that Satan's evil plans 
will be frustrated, the angels burst into a hymn of triumph 
with which heaven resounds. 

So spake the eternal Father, and all Heaven 
Admiring stood a space; then into hymns 
Burst forth, and in celestial measures movejl. 


Circling the throne and singing, while the hand 
Sung with the voice; and this the argument: 
"Victory and triumph to the Son of God 
Now entering his great duel, not of arms, 
But to vanquish by wisdom hellish wiles. 
The Father knows the Son; therefore secure 
Ventures his filial virtue, though untried. 
Against whate'er may tempt, whate'er seduce. 
Allure, or terrify, or undermine. 
Be frustrate, all ye stratagems of Hell, 
And devilish machinations come to nought." 

During this time the Son of God, after lingering three 
days by the Jordan, is driven by the Holy Spirit into the 
wilderness, where he spends his time meditating upon the 
great office he had undertaken as Saviour of mankind. In 
a grand soliloquy we hear how since early youth he has 
been urged onward by divine and philosophical influences, 
and how, realizing he was bom to further truth, he has 
diligently studied the law of God. Thanks to these studies, 
our Lord at twelve could measure his learning with that 
of the rabbis in the temple. Ever since that time he has 
longed to rescue his people from the Roman yoke, to end 
brutality, to further all that is good, and to win all hearts 
to God. He recalls the stories his mother told him in regard 
to the annunciation, to his virgin birth, and to the Star of 
Bethlehem, and comments upon the fact that the precursor 
immediately recognized him and that a voice from heaven 
hailed him as the Son of God ! 

Although Christ realizes he has been sent into the wilder- 
ness by divine power, and that his future way lies "through 
many a hard assay" and may lead even to death, he does 
not repine. Instead he spends the forty days in the wilder- 
ness fasting, preparing himself for the great work which 
he is called upon to accomplish, and paying no heed to 
the wild beasts which prowl around him without doing him 
any harm. 

It is only when weakness has reached its highest point 
and when Christ begins to hunger, that Satan approaches 
him in thp guise of an old peasant, pathetically describing 
the difficulty of maintaining life in the wilderness. Then 


he adds that, having seen Jesus baptized in the Jordan, 
he begs him to turn the stones around him into food, thereby 
relieving himself and his wretched fellow-sufferer from the 
pangs of hunger. 

" But, if thou be the Son of God, command 
That out of these hard stones be made thee bread; 
So shalt thou save thyself and us relieve 
With food, whereof we wretched seldom taste." 

Jesus, however, merely reproaches the tempter, rejoin- 
ing, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but from the words 
which proceed out of the mouth of God," and explaining 
that he knows who Satan is and for what purpose he has 
been sent hither. Unable to conceal his identity any longer, 
the evil spirit admits he has come straight from hell, but 
adds that God gave him power to test Job and to punish 
Ahab. He argues that the Almighty, who fed the Israelites 
with manna and supplied Elijah with miraculous food, does 
not intend to starve his only Son. Then, expressing ad- 
miration for Jesus' intellect, Satan explains he is not the 
foe of man, since through him he has gained everything, 
and whom he prides himself upon having often helped 
by oracles and omen. In spite of these arguments, Jesus 
refuses to listen to him, declares his oracles have lost all 
power, and adds that he is sent to execute his Father's 

"God hath now sent his living oracle 
Into the world to teach his final will, 
And sends his Spirit of truth henceforth to dwell 
In pious hearts, an inward oracle 
To all truth requisite for men to know." 

Thus baffled, Satan vanishes into "thin air diffused," 
and night steals over the desert, where fowls seek their 
nests while the wild beasts begin to roam in search of food. 

Book II. John the Baptist and his disciples, made 
anxious by Jesus' long absence, now begin to seek him as 
the prophets sought Elijah, fearing lest he too may have 
been caught up into heaven. Hearing Simon and Andrew 
wonder where he has gone and what he is doing, Mary 


relates the extraordinary circumstances which, accompanied 
her Son's birth, mentioning the flight into Egypt, the re- 
turn to Nazareth, and sundry other occurrences during the 
youth of our Lord. She declares that, ever since Gabriel's 
message feU upon her ear, she has been trying to prepare 
herself for the fulfilment of a promise then made her, and 
has often wondered what Simeon meant when he cried 
that a sword would pierce her very soul! Still, she re- 
calls how at twelve years of age, she grieved over the loss 
of her Son, until she found him in the temple, when he 
excused himself by stating he must be about his Father's 
business. Ever since then Mary has patiently awaited what 
is to come to pass, realizing the child she bore is destined 
to great things. 

Thus Mary pondering oft, and oft to mind 
Recalling what remarkably had passed 
Since first her salutation heard, with thoughts 
Meekly composed awaited fulfilling. 

Satan, having hastened back to the infernal regions, 
reports the ill success of his first venture, and the effect 
his first temptation had upon our Lord. Feeling at a loss, 
he invites the demons to assist him with their counsel, 
warning them this task will prove far more difficult than 
that of leading Adam astray. Belial, the most dissolute 
spirit in hell, then proposes that Satan tempt Jesus with 
women, averring that the female sex possesses so many 
wiles that even Solomon, wisest of kings, succumbed. But 
Satan scornfully rejects this proposal, declaring that He 
whom they propose thus to tempt is far wiser than Solomon 
and has a much more exalted mind. Although certain 
Christ will prove impervious to the bait of sense, Satan 
surmises that, owing to a prolonged fast, he may be sus- 
ceptible to the temptation of hunger, so, taking a select 
band of spirits, he returns to the desert to renew his at- 
tempts in a diEferent form. 

Transferring us again to the solitude, the poet describes 
how our Saviour passed the night dreaming of Elijah fed 


by the ravens and of Daniel staying his hunger with pulse. 
Awakened at last by the song of the larks, our Lord rises 
from his couch on the hard ground, and, strolling into a 
fertile valley, encounters Satan, who, superbly dressed, ex- 
presses surprise he should receive no aid in the wilderness 
when Hagar, the Israelites, and Elijah were all fed by 
divine intervention. Then Satan exhibits the wonderful 
banquet he has prepared, inviting Christ to partake of it; 
but the Son of God haughtily informs him he can obtain 
food whenever he wishes, and hence need not accept what 
he knows is offered with evil intent. Seeing our Lord can- 
not be assailed on the ground of appetite, Satan causes the 
banquet to vanish, but remains to tempt Christ with an 
offer of riches, artfully setting forth the power that can 
be acquired by their means. He adds, since Christ's mind 
is set on high designs, he will require greater wealth than 
stands at the disposal of the Son of Joseph the carpenter. 
But, although Satan offers to bestow vast treasures upon 
him, Christ rejects this proffer too, describing what noble 
deeds have been achieved by poor men such as Gideon, 
Jephtha, and David, as well as by certain Romans. He adds 
that riches often mislead their possessor, and so eloquently 
daseribes the drawbacks of wealth that Satan realizes it is 
useless to pursue this attempt. 

Booh III. Again complimenting Christ on his acumen, 
Satan rehearses the great deeds performed by Philip of 
Macedon and by Julius Caesar, who began their glorious 
careers earlier in life than he. Then, hoping to kindle in 
Jesus' heart a passion for worldly glory, Satan artfuUy 
relates that Caesar wept because he had lived so long with- 
out distinguishing himself; but our Lord quietly demon- 
strates the futility of earthly fame, compared to real glory, 
which is won only through religious patience and virtuous 
striving, such as was practiced by Job and Socrates. When 
Christ repeats he is not seeking his own glory but that of 
the Father who sent him, Satan reminds him God is sur- 
rounded with splendor and that it behooves his Son to 
strive to be like him. But Jesus rejoins that, while glory 


is the essential attribute of the Creator, no one else has a 
right to aspire to anything of the sort. 

Undeterred by these checks, Satan changes his theme, 
and reminds Christ that, as a member of the royal family, 
he is not only entitled to the throne, but expected to free 
Judea from Roman oppression. He states that the holy 
temple has been defiled, that injustice has been committed, 
and urges that even the Maccabees resorted to arms to free 
their country. Although Christ insists no such mission has 
been appointed for him, he adds that, although his reign 
will never end, it will be only those who can suffer best 
who will be able to enjoy it. 

" Who best 
Can suffer, best can do; best reign, who first 
Well hath obeyed; just trial ere I merit 
My exaltation without change or end." 

Then, turning upon his interlocutor, Christ inquires 
why he is so anxious to promote the one whose rise will 
entail his fall? To which Satan replies that, having no 
hope, it little behooves him to obstruct the plans of Christ, 
from whose benevolence alone he expects some mitigation of 
his punishment, for he fancies that by speaking thus he 
can best induce Christ to hear him. Then, feigning to 
believe that Christ has refused his offers simply because he 
has never seen aught save Jerusalem, Satan conveys him 
in the twinkling of an eye to the summit of a mountain, 
whence, pointing eastward, he shows him all the great 
Idngdoms of Asia. Thus, he reveals the glories of Assyria, 
Babylonia, and Persia, — of whose histories he gives a brief 
resume, — before pointing out a large Parthian army setting 
out to war against the Scythians, for he hopes by this 
martial display to convince Christ that, in order to obtain 
a kingdom, he will have to resort to military force. Then 
he adds he can easily enlist the services of this army, with 
which Christ can drive the Romans out of Judea, and tri- 
umphantly reign over the land of his ancestors, whence his 
glory will extend far and wide, until it far surpasses all 


that Rome and Caesar achieved. Jesus, however, demon- 
strates the vanity of all military efforts, declaring his time 
has not yet come, but assuring him he will not be found 
wanting when the moment comes for him to ascend the 
throne, for he hopes to prove an able ruler. 

Then he reminds Satan how he tempted David to take a 
census against God's wish, and led Israel astray, until the 
Ten Tribes were taken off into captivity in punishment for 
their idolatry. He also comments upon Satan's extra- 
ordinary anxiety to restore the very people whose foe he 
has always been, as he has proved time and again by lead- 
ing them into idolatry, adding that God may yet restore 
them to their liberty and to their native land. These argu- 
ments silence even Satan, for such is ever the result when 
"with truth falsehood contends." 

Book IV. With all the persistency of his kind, Satan 
refuses to acknowledge himself beaten, and, leading Christ 
to the western side of the mountain, reveals to him all the 
splendor of Rome, exhibiting its Capitol, Tarpeian Rock, 
triumphal arches, and the great roads along which hosts 
are journeying to the Eternal City. After thus dazzling 
him, Satan suggests that Christ oust Tiberius (who has no 
son) from the imperial throne, and make himself master 
not only of David's realm, but of the whole Roman Empire, 
establishing law and order where vice now reigns. 

Although Satan eagerly proffers his aid to accomplish 
all this, our Lord rejoins such a position has no attraction 
for him, adding that, as long as the Romans were frugal, 
mild, and temperate, they were happy, but that, when they 
became avaricious and brutal, they forfeited their happi- 
ness. He adds that he has not been sent to free the Romans, 
but that, when his season comes to sit on David's throne, 
his rule will spread over the whole world and will dwell 
there without end. 

"Know, therefore, when my season comes to sit 
On David's throne, it shall be like a tree 
Spreading and overshadowing all the earth. 
Or as a stone that shall to pieces dash 


All monarchies besides throughout the world, 
And of my kingdom there shall be no end: 
Means there shall be to this, but what the means 
Is not for thee to know nor me to tell." 

Pretending that Christ's reluctance is due to the fact 
that he shrinks from the exertions necessary to obtain this 
boon, Satan offers to bestow it freely upon him, provided 
he wiU fall down and worship him. Hearing this proposal, 
Christ rebukes the tempter, saying, "Thou shalt worship 
the Lord thy God and only him shalt serve," and reviling 
him for his ingratitude. To pacify his interlocutor, Satan 
then proposes to make him famous through wisdom, and 
exhibits Athens, — ^that celebrated centre of ancient learn- 
ing, — offering to make him master of all its schools of 
philosophy, oratory, and poetry, and thus afford him ample 
intellectual gratification. But Jesus rejects this offer also, 
after proving the vanity and insufficiency of heathen 
philosophy and learning, and after demonstrating that 
many books are a weariness to the flesh, and that none com- 
pare with those which are the proudest boast of God's 
Chosen People. 

" However, many books, 
Wise men have said, are wearisome: who reads 
Incessantly, and to his reading brings not 
A spirit and judgment equal or superior 
(And what he brings, what needs he elsewhere seek?). 
Uncertain and unsettled still remains. 
Deep versed in books and shallow in himself. 
Crude or intoxicate, collecting toys 
And trifles for choice matters, worth a sponge; 
As children gathering pebbles on the shore." 

Irritated by the failure of all his attempts, Satan next 
taunts his opponent by describing the sufferings and humilia- 
tions he will have to undergo, until, seeing this too has no 
effect, he suddenly bears him back to the wilderness, where 
he leaves him for the night, during which he sends a terrific 
storm to appall him. Even in sleep Jesus is haunted by 
dreams and spectres sent by the tempter, but at dawn all 
these visions disappear, the storm dies down, and a lovely 
morning greets him when he awakes. 


Once more Satan appears to warn our Lord that the 
dreams of the night and the horrors of the tempest were 
foreshadowings of what he will have to undergo. In spite 
of this, Christ assures him he is toiling in vain ; whereupon, 
swollen with rage, Satan confesses that ever since he heard 
Gabriel's announcement to the shepherds in regard to 
Christ's birth, he has watched him, hoping to get some hold 
upon him during his infancy, youth, or early manhood. 
He now inquires whether Christ is really his destined foe 
and reluctantly admits he has failed in all his endeavors 
to tempt him. But one last test still remains to be tried, 
for Satan suddenly conveys Christ to the topmost pinnacle 
of the Temple of Jerusalem, bidding him demonstrate his 
divinity by fearlessly casting himself down, since God has 
"given his angels charge concemiag him." 

Not only does our Lord reprove the tempter, but so 
calmly manifests his divine power by standing erect on this 
dangerous point, that Satan — like all other defeated mon- 
sters, such as the Sphinx — falls howling down into the 
infernal regions. At the same time angels convey our Lord 
to a lovely valley, where they minister unto him with 
celestial food and celebrate his victory with a triumphal 
hymn, for the Son of God has successfully resisted the 
tempter, before whom Adam succumbed, and has thereby 
saved man from the penalty of his sin. 

Henceforth Satan will never again dare set foot in 
Paradise, where Adam and his chosen descendants are to 
dwell secure, while the Son of Man completes the work he 
has been sent to do. 

Thus they the Son of God, our Saviour meek, 
Sung victor, and from heavenly feast refreshed 
Brought on his way with joy; he unobserved 
Home to his mother'a private liouse returned. 


German literature begins after the great migrations 
{circa 600), and its earliest samples are traditional songs 
of an epic character, like the Hildebrandslied. Owing to 
diversities of race and speech, there are in southern and 
northern Germany various epic cycles which cluster around 
such heroes as Ermanrich the Goth, Dietrich von Bern, ' 
Theodoric the East Goth, Attila the Hun, Gunther the Bur- 
gundian, Otfried the Langobardian, and Sigfried — per- 
chance a Frisian, or, as some authorities claim, the famous 
Arminius who triumphed over the Romans. 

The Hildenbrandslied relates how Hildebrand, after 
spending thirty years in Hungary, returns to North Italy, 
leaving behind him a wife and infant son Hadubrand. A 
false rumor of Hildebrand 's death reaches Hungary when 
Hadubrand has achieved great renown as a warrior, so, 
when in quest for adventure the young man meets his 
father, he deems him an impostor and fights with him until 
the poem breaks off, leaving us uncertain whether father 
or son was victorious. But later poets, such as Kaspar von 
der Rhon, give the story a happy ending, thus avoiding the 
tragic note struck in Sorab and Rustem (p. 410). 

There existed so many of these ancient epic songs that 
Charlemagne undertook to collect them, but Louis I, his 
all too pious son, destroyed this collection on his accession 
to the throne, because, forsooth, these epics glorified the 
pagan gods his ancestors had worshipped! 

Still not all the Teutonic epics are of pagan origin, for 
in the second period we find such works as Visions of 
Judgment (Muspilli), Lives of Saints, and biblical nar- 
ratives like Heliant (the Saviour), Judith, the Exodus, 
der Krist by Otfried, and monkish-political works like the 
Ludwigslied, or history of the invasion of the Normans. 
There is also the epic of Walter von Aquitanien, which, 



although written in Latin, shows many traces of German 

In Walther von Aquitanien we have an epic of the 
, Burgundian-Hunnish cycle written by Ekkehard of St. 
Gall before 973. It relates the escape of Walther von 
Aquitanien and his betrothed Hildegund from the court 
of Attila, where the young man was detained as a hostage. 
After describing their preparations for flight, their method 
of travel and camping, the poet relates how they were 
overtaken in the Vosges Mountains by a force led by 
Gunther and Hagen, who wish to secure the treasures they 
are carrying. Warned in time by Hildegund, — ^who keeps 
watch while he sleeps, — ^Walther dons his armor, and 
single-handed disposes of many foes. When Gunther, 
Hagen, and Walther alone survive, although sorely dis- 
abled, peace is concluded, and the lovers resume their 
journey and reach Aquitania safely, where they reign hap- 
pily thirty years. 

In the third period "the crusades revived the epic 
memories of Charlemagne and Eoland and of the triumphs 
of Alexander," thus giving birth to a Eolandslied and an 
Alexanderlied, as well as to endless chivaMc epics, or 
romances in verse and prose. 

The Eolandslied — ^an art epic — gives the marriage and 
banishment of Charlemagne's sister Bertha, the birth of 
Roland, the manner in which he exacted tribute from his 
playmates to procure clothes, his first appearance in his 
uncle's palace, his bold seizure of meat and drink from 
the royal table to satisfy his mother's needs, Charlemagne's 
forgiveness of his sister for the sake of her spirited boy, 
the episode regarding the giant warrior in the Ardennes, 
the fight with Oliver, the ambush at Roncevaux, and end 
with Roland's death and the punishment of the traitor 
Ganelon. But later legends claim that Roland, recovering 
from the wounds received at Roncevaux, returned to Ger- 
many and to his fiancee Aude, who, deeming him dead, 
had meantime taken the veil. We next have Roland's 


sorrow, the construction of his hermitage at Rolandseck,^ 
whence he continually overlooks the island of Nonnenworth 
and the convent where his beloved is wearing her life away 
in prayers for his soul. This cycle concludes with Roland's 
death and burial on this very spot, his face still turned 
toward the grave where his sweetheart rests. 

In the Langobardian cycle ^ also is the tale of " Rother," 
supposed to be Charlemagne 's grandfather, one of the court 
epics of the Lombard cycle. In King Rother we have the 
abduction by Rother of the emperor's daughter, her recov- 
ery by her father, and Rother 's pursuit and final reconquest 
of his wife. The next epic in the cycle, ' ' Otnit, ' ' related the 
marriage of this king to a heathen princess, her father '.? 
gift of dragon's eggs, and the hatching of these monsters, 
which ultimately cause the death of Otnit and infest 
Teutonic lands with their progeny. Then come the legends 
of Hug-Dietrich and Wolf -Dietrich, which continue the 
Lombard cycle and pursue the adventures of Otnit to his 

The legend of Herzog Ernst is still popular, and relates 
how a duke of Bavaria once made a pilgrimage to Jeru- 
salem and lived through endless thrilling adventures on 
the way. 

The greatest of all the German epics is undoubtedly the 
Nibelungenlied, — of which we give a synopsis, — ^whieh is 
often termed the Iliad of Germany, while "Gudrun" is 
considered its Odyssey. This folk epic relates how Hagan, 
son of a king, was carried off at seven years of age by a 
griffin. But, before the monster or its young could devour 
him, the sturdy child effected his escape into the wilder- 
ness, where he grew up with chance-found companions. 
Rescued finally by a passing ship, these young people are 
threatened with slavery, but spared so sad a fate thanks 
to Hagan 's courage. Hagan now returns home, becomes 
king, and has a child, whose daughter Gudrun is carried 
away from father and lover by a prince of Zealand. On 

'See the author's "Legends of the Rhine." 

' See the author's " Legends of the Middle Ages." 


his way home, the kidnapper is overtaken by his pursuers, 
and wages a terrible battle on the Wiilpensand, wherein 
he proves victorious. But the kidnapper cannot induce 
Gudrun to accept his attentions, although he tries hard to 
win her love. His mother, exasperated by this resistance, 
finally undertakes to force Gudrun to submit by dint of 
hardships, and even sends her out barefoot in the snow to 
do the family washing. While thus engaged, Gudrun and 
her faithful companion are discovered by the princess' 
brother and lover, who arrange the dramatic rescue of 
the damsels, whom they marry.' 

Next in order come the philosophic epies of Wolfram 
von Eschenbach, including the immortal Parzifal — which 
has been used by Tennyson and Wagner in their poems 
and opera — and the poetic tales of Gottfried of Strass- 
burg, whose Tristan und Isolde, though unfinished, is a 
fine piece of work. Hartmann von der Aue is author of 
Erek und Enide, — the subject of Tennyson 'a poem, — of Der 
arme Heinrich, — ^whieh served as foundation for Long- 
fellow's Golden Legend, — and of Iwein or the Knight with 
the Lion. 

Among the Minnesingers of greatest note are Walther 
von der Vogelweide, Wolfram von Eschenbach, and later, 
when their head-quarters were at Niiremberg, Hans Sachs. 
Their favorite themes were court epies, dealing especially 
with the legends of Arthur, of the Holy Grail, and of 
Charles the Great. Many of these epics are embodied 
in the Heldenbuch, or Book of Heroes, compiled in the 
fifteenth century by Kaspar von der Rhon, while the 
Abentuerbuch contains many of these legends as well as 
Der Rosengarten and Konig Laurin. 

In the second part of the thirteenth century artificiality 
and vulgarity began to preponderate, provoking as counter- 
weights didactic works such as Der Krieg auf der Wartburg. 

" Detailed accounts of " Gudrun " and several other of these 
subordinate epics can be found in the author's "Legends of the 
Middle Ages." 


The fourteenth century saw the rise of the free cities, 
literary guilds, and five universities. It also marks the 
cultivation of political satire in such works as Reinecke 
Puehs, and of narrative prose chronicles like the Liine- 
burger, Alsatian, and Thuringian Chronicles, which are 
sometimes termed prose epics. The Volksbiicher also date 
from this time, and have preserved for us many tales which 
would otherwise have been lost, such as the legends of the 
Wandering Jew and Dr. Faustus. 

The age of Reformation proved too serious for poets 
to indulge in any epics save new versions of Reinecke Fuehs 
and Der Froschmeuseler, and after the Thirty Years' War 
the first poem of this class really worthy of mention is 
Klopstock's Messias, or epic in twenty books on the life 
and mission of Christ and the fulfilment of the task for 
which he was foreordained. 

Contemporary with Klopstock are many noted writers, 
who distinguished themselves in what is known as the 
classic period of German literature. This begins with 
Goethe's return from Italy, when he, with Schiller's aid, 
formed a classical school of literature in Germany. 

While Schiller has given us the immortal epic drama 
"William Tell," Goethe produced the idyllic epic "Her- 
mann und Dorothea," the dramatical epic "Faust," and an 
inimitable version of the animal epic "Reinecke Fuehs." 

Wieland also was a prolific writer in many fields; in- 
spired by the Arabian Nights, Shakespeare's Midsummer 
Night's Dream, and Huon de Bordeaux,* he composed an 
allegorical epie entitled "Oberon," wherein "picture 
after picture is unfolded to his readers," and which has 
since served as a theme for musicians and painters. 

Since Goethe's day Wagner has made the greatest and 
most picturesque use of the old German epic material, for 
the themes of nearly all his operas are drawn from this 

*Bee the author's "Legends of the Middle Ages." 
» See the author's " Stories of the Wagner Operas." 




The Nibelungenlied, or Song of the Nibelungs, was 
written about the beginning of the thirteenth century, 
although it relates events dating back to the sixth or 
seventh. Some authorities claim it consists of twenty songs 
of various dates and origin, others that it is the work of a 
single author. The latter ascribe the poem to Conrad von 
Kiirenberg, "Wolfram von Eschenbach, Heinrich von 
Ofterdingen, or Walther von der Vogelweide. The poem 
is divided into thirty-nine "adventures," and contains two 
thousand four hundred and fifty-nine stanzas of four lines 
each. The action covers a period of about thirty years and 
is based on materials taken from the Frankish, Burgundian, 
Austro-Gothic, and Hunnish saga cycles. 

Dietrich von Bern, one of the characters, is supposed 
to be Theodoric of Italy, while Etzel has been identified with 
Attila the Hun, and the Gunther with a king of the Bur- 
gundians who was destroyed with all his followers by the 
Huns in 436. 

1st Adventure. Three Burgundian princes dwell at 
Worms on the Rhine, where, at the time when the poem 
opens their sister Kriemhild is favored by a vision wherein 
two eagles pursue a falcon and tear it to pieces when it 
seeks refuge on her breast. 

^ A dream was dreamt by Kriemhild the virtuous and the gay, 
, ^ How a wild young falcon she train'd for many a day, 
Yc'" \ Till two fierce eaglea tore it; to her there could not be 
^' vf' In all the world such sorrow as this perforce to see.' 



Knowing her mother expert at interpreting dreams, 

/■ /^ \ Kriemhild inquires what this means, only to learn that her 

f (X ^ I future spouse will be attacked by grim foes. This note of 

' \ tragedy, heard already in the very beginning of the poem, 

i, is repeated at intervals until it seems like the reiterated 

^tolling of a funeral beU. 

" See the author's " Legends of the Middle Ages." , 

'All the quotations in this chapter are from Liettsom's trans- 
lation of " The Nibelungenlied." 


2d Adventure. The poem now transfers us to Xanten 
on the Bhine, where King Siegmund and his wife hold a 
tournament for the coming of age of their only son Sieg- 
fried, who distinguishes himself greatly and in whose be- 
half his mother lavishes rich gifts upon all present. 

The gorgeous feast it lasted till the seventh day was o'er; 
Si^elind the wealthy did as they did of yore; 
She won for valiant Si^fried the hearts of young and old 
When for his sake among them she shower'd the ruddy gold. 

3d Adventure. Hearing of the beauty of Kriemhild, 
Siegfried decides to go and woo her, taking with him only 
a troop of eleven men. His arrival at Worms causes a 
sensation, and Hagen of Tronje — sl cousin of King Gunther 
— ^informs his master that this visitor once distinguished 
himself by slaying a dragon and that he is owner of the 
vast Nibelungen hoard. This treasure once belonged to 
two brothers, who implored Siegfried to divide it between 
them, a task he undertook in exchange for the sword — 
Bahnung — ^which lay on top of the heap of gold. But no 
sooner had he made the division than the brothers mortally 
wounded each other and died on their heaps of gold, leaving 
their treasure to Siegfried, who thus became the richest 
man in the world. 

On hearing the new-comer announce he has come to 
challenge Gunther to a duel, the Burgundians are dismayed, 
but they soon succeed in disarming their guest, and finally 
persuade him to remain with them a year, entertaining him 
with games and tournaments in which Siegfried dis- 
tinguished himself greatly, to the satisfaction of Kriemhild 
who witnesses his prowess through a latticed window. 

4th Adventure'. Toward the end of Siegfried's visit, it 
is reported that the kings of Saxony and Denmark are 
advancing Asdth four thousand men. The dismay of the 
Burgundians is such that Siegfried proposes to go forth and 
overpower the enemy with a force of merely one thousand 
men. Only too glad to accept this offer, Gunther allows 
Siegfried to depart, and is overjoyed when the young hero 


comes back with two prisoner monarehs in his train. The 
messenger who announces Siegfried's triumph is, moreover, 
richly rewarded by Kriemhild, who flushes with pleasure 
on hearing the praise bestowed upon her hero. 

5th Adventure. After describing the tournament held 
at Worms in honor of this victory, the poet tells us how 
Siegfried and Kriemhild met there face to face, and how 
they fell in love with each other at first sight. 

Now went she forth, the loveliest, as forth the morning goes 
From misty clouds out-beaming; then all his weary woes 
Left him, in heart who bore her, and so, long time, had done. 
He saw there stately standing the fair, the peerless one. 

The result was of course an immediate proposal, which 
Gunther was glad to accept in his sister's name. 

6th Adventure. He bargained, however, that before 
Siegfried claimed his bride he should go with him to Isen- 
land, and help him win the hand of Brunhild, the finest 
woman in the world. Gunther needs Siegfried's help in 
his wooiug, because Brunhild has vowed to marry only the 
man who can throw a spear and stone farther than she and 
surpass her in jumping. Siegfried, who apparently pos- 
sesses some knowledge of this lady, vainly tries to dissuade 
Gunther, and, when he decides to accompany him in his 
quest, suggests that Hagen and another knight form their 
train. Kriemhild provides the travellers with suitable gar- 
ments, made by her own hands, and the four embark on a 
small vessel, in which they sail down the Rhine and out to 
sea, reaching Isenland only twelve days after their start. 
As they near this land, Siegfried strictly charges his com- 
panions to tell every one he is Gunther 's vassal, and im- 
mediately begins to act as if such we#e indeed his real 

7th Adventure. Gazing out of her window, Brunhild 
perceives the approaching ship, and, recognizing within it 
Siegfried, — ^who visited her realm once before, — ^her heart 
beats with joy at the thought that he has come to woo her. 
She is, however, amazed to see him hold Gunther 's stirrup 


when they land, and to learn it is the king of Burgundy 
who sues for her hand. In her disappointment Brunhild 
grimly warns the new-eomer that, unless he prove success- 
ful, he and his men must die. 

" He must cast the stone beyond me, and after it must leap. 
Then with me shoot the javelin; too quick a pace you keep; 
Stop and awhile consider, and reckon well the cost," 
The warrioresa made answer, " ere life and fame be lost." 

Undeterred by this threat, Gunther volunteers to under- 
go the test, but he quails when he sees the heavy spear 
which Brunhild brandishes and when he perceives that 
twelve men stagger beneath the weight she proposes to 
throw. He is, however, somewhat reassured when Sieg- 
fried whispers he need but go through the motions, while 
his friend, concealed by the Tarncappe, — ^the cloak of in- 
visibility which endows the wearer with the strength of 
twelve men, — ^wiU perform the required feats in his behalf. 

Said he, " Off with the buckler and give it me to bear. 
Now, what I shall advise thee, mark with thy closest care. 
Be it thine to make the gestures, and mine the work to do." 
Glad man was then king Gunther, when he his helpmate knew. 

In the first test Brunhild casts a spear with such force 
that both Gunther and his invisible companion stagger 
and nearly fall, but, just as she is about to cry victory, 
Siegfried sends back the spear butt-end foremost and 
brings her to her knees. Veiling her dismay at this first 
defeat, Brunhild hurls the stone to a great distance and 
lands beside it with a flying leap. In Gunther 's place the 
invisible Siegfried hurls the same stone much farther than 
Brunhild, and seizing Gunther by his belt jumps with him 
to the spot where it alighted. Having thus been outdone 
in all three feats of strength, Brunhild no longer refuses 
her hand to Gunther, who appears triumphant, although 
his prospective bride looks strangely solemn and angry. 

Sth Adventure. Because Brunhild summons to her 
castle a large number of warriors, under pretext of cele- 
brating her nuptials, Siegfried sails off unseen to the land 


of the Nibelungs, where lie batters at his castle gate de- 
manding admittance. As the wary dwarf guardian of the 
Nibelung hoard refuses to admit him, Siegfried fights him, 
and after conquering him compels him to recognize his 
authority. Then he bids a thousand Nibelung warriors 
accompany him back to Isenland, and Brunhild, seeing this 
force approaching and learning from Gunther it is part of 
his suite, no longer dares to resist. 

9th Adventure. The fair bride, escorted by all these 
men, now sails across the sea and up the Rhine. As they 
near Burgundy, Gunther decides to send word of their 
arrival, and persuades Siegfried to act as his messenger 
by assuring him he wiU earn KriemhUd's gratitude. 

Said he, " Nay, gentle Siegfried, do but this journey take. 
Not for my sake only, but for my sister's sake. 
You'll oblige fair Kriemhild in this as well' as me.'' 
When so implor'd was Siegfried, ready at once was he. 

10th Adventure. Not only does Siegfried receive the 
fair lady's hearty thanks, but he acts as her escort when 
she hastens down to the bank to welcome her brother and 
his bride. The poem then describes the kissing, speeches, 
and grand tournament held to welcome Brunhild, as well 
as the banquet where Siegfried publicly reminds Gunther 
he promised him Kriemhild 's hand as soon as Brunhild was 
won. Exclaiming this promise shall immediately be re- 
deemed, Gunther sends for his sister, although his new 
wife openly wonders he should bestow her hand upon a 
mere vassal. Silencing his bride's objections, Gunther con- 
fers Kriemhild 's hand upon Siegfried, and thus two bridal 
couples sit side by side at the evening meal. 

The hour having come for retiring, Gunther, attempting 
to embrace his bride, is dismayed to find himself seized, 
bound fast, and hung up on a peg, where he dangles all 
night in spite of piteous entreaties to be set free. It is 
only a moment before the servants enter on the morrow 
that Brunhild consents to release her spouse, so when the 
bridegrooms appear in public, everybody notices that while 


Siegfried is radiant, Gunther's brow is clouded by a heavy- 
frown. In tbe course of tbe day, the King of Burgundy 
confides to his new brother-in-law the cause of his dis- 
pleasure, whereupon Siegfried promises to don his cloud 
cloak that evening and compel Gunther's bride to treat 
her husband henceforth with due respect. True to this 
promise, Siegfried, unseen, follows Gunther and Brunhild 
into their apartment that night, and, the lights having been 
extinguished, wrestles with the bride until she acknowledges 
herself beaten. Although fancying she is yielding to 
Gunther, it is Siegfried who snatches her girdle and ring 
before leaving Gunther to reap the benefit of his victory, 
for Brunhild, having submitted to a man, loses her former 
fabulous strength. Meanwhile Siegfried returns to Kriem- 
hild, imprudently relates how he has been occupied, and 
bestows upon her the girdle and ring. 

11th Adventure. The wedding festivities finished, Sieg- 
fried returns to Xanten with his bride, who is escorted 
thither by her faithful henchman Ekkewart, who has vowed 
to follow her wherever she goes. Siegfried's parents not 
only receive the bride cordially, but relinquish their throne 
to the young couple, who live together most happily and 
are overjoyed at the advent of a son. 

12th Adventure. Twelve whole years elapse ere Brun- 
hild asks Gunther how it happens his vassal Siegfried has 
never yet come to "Worms to do homage ? Although Gunther 
now assures his wife Siegfried is a king in his own right, 
she nevertheless insists her brother-in-law and his wife 
should be invited to "Worms, a suggestion which Gunther 
is only too glad to carry out. 

13th Adventure. Overjoyed at the prospect of revisit- 
ing the scene of their courtship, Siegfried and Kriemhild 
return to "Worms, leaving their infant son at home, but 
taking with them Siegfried's father who has recently lost 
his wife. To honor her sister-in-law, Brunhild welcomes 
Kriemhild with the same state that heralded her own en- 
trance at Worms. Banquets and tournaments also take 
place, whereat the two queens try to outshine each other. 


One day, while sitting together extolling their husband's 
virtues, a quarrel arises, during which Brunhild curtly in- 
forms Kriemhild her husband can scarcely be as great as she 
pretends, seeing he is merely Gunther's vassal! 

14th Adventure. Of course Kriemhild hotly denies this, 
and, when Brunhild insists, declares she will prove her hus- 
band 's superiority by. claiming precedence at the church 
door. Instigated by wrath, both ladies deck themselves 
magnificently and arrive simultaneously to attend mass, 
escorted by imposing trains. Seeing Kriemhild make a 
motion as if to enter first, Brunhild bids her pause, and 
the two ladies begin an exchange of uncomplimentary re- 
marks. In the heat of the quarrel, Kriemhild insinuates 
that Brunhild granted Siegfried bridal favors, and in proof 
thereof exhibits Brunhild's girdle and ring! Brunhild 
immediately sends for Gunther, who, helpless between t>vo 
angry women, summons Siegfried. Bluntly declaring 
wives should be kept in order, Siegfried undertakes to dis- 
cipline Kriemhild, provided Gunther will reduce Brunhild 
to subjection, and publicly swears he never approached 
the Burgundian queen in any unseemly way. In spite of 
this public apology, Brunhild refuses to be comforted, and, 
as her husband utterly refuses to take active measures to 
avenge her, she finally prevails upon her kinsman Hagen 
to take up her quarrel. Under the mistaken impression that 
she has been grievously wronged by Siegfried, Hagen urges 
Gunther to attack his brother-in-law, until the weak king 
yields to the pressure thus brought to bear by his angry 
wife and kinsman. 

None urged the matter further, except that Hagen still 
Kept ever prompting Gimther the guiltless blood to spill; 
Saying, that, if Siegfried perish'd, his death to him would bring 
The sway o'er many a kingdom. Sore mourn'd the wavering king. 

IStJi Adventure. A cunning plan is now devised by 
Hagen whereby Siegfried is informed that the monarchs 
he once conquered have again risen up in rebellion. Of 
course Siegfried volunteers to subdue them once more, and 


Kriemhild, hearing he is about to start for war, expresses 
great anxiety for his safety. Under pretext of sympathy, 
Hagen inquires why Kriemhild feels any dread, seeing her 
husband is invuhierable, and learns the secret that Sieg- 
fried can be injured in a spot between his shoulders, be- 
cause a lime-leaf, sticking fast there, prevented the dragon's 
blood from touching that spot.® 

" So now I'll tell the secret, dear friend, alone to thee 
(For thou, I doubt not, cousin, will keep thy faith with me). 
Where sword may pierce my darling, and .death sit on the thrust. 
See, in thy truth and honor how full, how firm my trust! " 

Under pretext of protecting this vuhierable point, Hagen 
persuades Kriemhild to embroider a cross on her husband's 
garment over the fatal spot. Then, sure now of triumphing 
over this dreaded foe, he feigns the kings have sent word 
they will submit, and proposes that instead of fighting they 
all go hunting in the Odenwald. 

16th Ad/venture. Troubled by strange presentiments, 
Kriemhild tries to prevent Siegfried from going to the 
chase, but, laughing at her fears, he departs joyfuUy, 
although he is never to see her again. After describing 
the game slain in the course of this day's hunt, the poet 
declares Siegfried captured a live bear and playfully let 
it loose in camp, to the horror of his fellow hunters. Then, 
feeling thirsty, Siegfried loudly began to call for drink, 
and, discovering that owing to a mistake the wine has 
been conveyed to another part of the forest, proposes that 
he, Gunther, and Hagen should race to a neighboring spring, 
undertaking to perform the feat in full armor while his 
companions run in light undress. Although handicapped, 
Siegfried arrives first, but courteously steps aside to allow 
Gunther to take a drink, pretending he wishes to remove 
his armor before quenching his thirst. But, when he, in his 
turn, stoops over the fountain, Hagen, after slyly remov- 
ing his weapons out of his reach, steals up behiad him and 
runs a spear into the very spot where the embroidered cross 
shines on his doublet. Mortally wounded, Siegfried turns, 

' See the author's " Legends of the Rhine." 


and, grasping his shield, hurls it at the traitor with such 
f oi;ce that he dashes it to pieces. 

E'en to the death though wounded, he iurl'd it with such power 

That the whirling buckler scatter'd vide a shower 

Of the most precious jewels, then straight in shivers broke. 

Full gladly had the warrior ta'en vengeance with that stroke. 

Sinking to the ground after this effort, Siegfried ex- 
pends his last breath in beseeching Gunther to wateh over 
his wife. Gazing down at the corpse, Gunther, afraid to 
acknowledge so dastardly a deed, suggests they spread the 
report that Siegfried was slain by brigands while hunting 
alone in the forest. Hagen, however, proud of his feat, 
does not intend to subscribe to this project, and plots 
further villainy while following the body back to Worms. 

17th Adventure. The funeral train arriving there at 
midnight, Hagen directs the bearers to lay Siegfried's body 
at Kriemhild's door, so that she may stumble over it when 
she comes out at dawn on her way to mass. On perceiving 
that the dead body over which she has fallen is that of her 
beloved spouse, Kriemhild faints. While her women raise a 
mournful cry. 

Roused from his slumbers by the terrible news, old 
Siegmund joins the mourners, and he and the Nibelung 
knights carry the body to the minster, where Kriemhild 
insists all those who took part in the hunt shall file past it, 
for she hopes thereby to detect her husband's murderer. 
(Mediaeval tradition averred that a dead man's wounds 
bled whenever his murderer drew near.) Because Sieg- 
fried's wounds drop blood at Hagen 's touch, Kriemhild 
publicly denounces him as her husband's slayer. 

It is a mighty marvel, which oft e'en now we spy, 
That, when the blood-stain'd murderer comes to the murder'd nigh. 
The wounds break out a bleeding, then too the same befell. 
And thus could each beholder the guilt of Hagen tell. 

But, instead of showing remorse, Ha^en boldly proclaims 
he merely did his duty when he slew the man who cast a 
slur upon the honor of his queen. 

18th, Adn^enture. Having laid his beloved son to rest. 


FTom the painting by Th. Pixis 


old Siegmund returns home, after vainly urging Kriemhild 
to leave the place where Siegfried is buried and return to 
her son, for, although Kriemhild 's mother and brothers 
try to show her every mark of sympathy, Brunhild reveals 
no pity. 

Meanwhile aat misproud Brunhild in haughtiness undieek'd; 

Of Kriemhild's tears and sorrows her it nothing reck'd. 

She pitied not the mourner; she stoop'd not to the low. 

Soon Kriemhild took full vengeance, and woe repaid with woe. 

19th Adventure. Three years elapse before Hagen sug- 
gests to Gunther that his sister send for the Nibelung hoard 
which was given her on her marriage. Intending to em- 
ploy it to buy masses and avengers for Siegfried, Kriem- 
hild gladly consents, and we are told twelve wagons travelled 
four nights and days to convey the store of gold from the 
Nibelung castle to the sea, whence it was carried to Kriem- 
hild at Worms. With such a treasure at her disposal, the 
widowed queen proceeds to win so many adherents that 
Hagen, deeming this gold may prove dangerous, advises 
her brothers to take possession of it. No sooner have they 
done so than, fearing lest they may restore it to Kriemhild, 
Hagen buries it in the Rhine, telling none but his masters 
in what place it is hidden. 

20th Ad/venture. Having lost his first wife, Etzel, king 
of Hungary, now deems it advisable to marry again and 
secure an heir to his realm. As no other woman seems so 
fitted for so exalted a station as Kriemhild, Etzel sends 
his chief nobleman, Rudiger, to Worms with his proposal. 
After tarrying a few days on the way with his wife and 
daughter, this ambassador hurries to Worms, where he is 
welcomed by Hagen, who had formerly spent several years 
as a hostage at Etzel 's court. Rudiger having made his 
errand known, Gunther beseeches three days' time to ascer- 
tain his sister's wishes. Mattered by the prospect of such 
an alliance, Gunther hopes Kriemhild will accept Etzel 's 
proposal, but Hagen rejoins that should she secure such 
powerful allies, she might in time punish thsm for Sieg- 



fried 's death. At first the widowed Kriemhild refuses to 
listen to Etzel's offers, but, when Eudiger swears to avenge 
her past or future Ilk, she suddenly announces her consent. 

Then swore to her Sir Eudiger and all his knightly train 
To serve her ever truly, and all her rights maintain, 
Nor e^er of her due honors scant her in Etzel's land. 
Thereto gave the good margrave th' assurance of his hand. 

Then thought the faithful mourner, "with such a host of friends 
Now the poor lonely widow may work her secret ends. 
Nor care for what reflections the world on her may cast. 
What if my lost beloved I may revenge at last? " 

Then, still escorted by the faithful Ekkewart and carry- 
ing off with her the small portion of the Nibelungen treasure 
which she still retains, Kriemhild starts out for Hungary. 

21st Adventure. The three Burgundian princes escort 
their sister to the Danube and, taking leave of her there, 
allow her to proceed with Eudiger to Passau, where her 
uncle, Bishop Pilgrin, gives her a warm welcome. Thence 
the travellers proceed to Eudiger 's castle, where his wife 
and daughter entertain their future queen, who bestows 
upon them costly treasures. Eesuming her journey, Kriem- 
hild is now met on all sides by the ovations of her future 

23d Adventure. When Etzel and his chief noblemen 
finally meet her, Kriemhild courteously kisses her future 
spouse, as well as the men whom he points out as worthy 
of such distinction. Among these is Dietrich of Bern, 
one of the heroes of the poem, and it is under his escort 
that the king and queen of Hungary proceed to Vienna, 
where their marriage festivities last seventeen days. 

23d Adventure. Seven years elapse, and, although 
Kriemhild has a son by Etzel, she still grieves for Sieg- 
fried and continually broods over her wrongs. One day 
she suddenly suggests that King Etzel invite her kinsmen 
to Hungary, and, when he consents, gives special instruc- 
tions to the bards who bear the message to make sure that 
Hagen accompanies her brothers. 

24th Adventure. After fourteen days* journey the 


minstrels reach. Worms and deliver their message. All are 
in favor of accepting this invitation save Hagen, who re- 
marks that such friendliness seems suspicious. When his 
master retorts a guilty conscience harbors fear, Hagen 
stoutly avers he is ready to serve as guide, suggesting, how- 
ever, that they journey fully armed, with an escort of a 
thousand men, so as to cope with treachery should such 

"Turn, while there's time for safety, turn, warriors most and 
For this, and for this only, you're bidden to the feast. 
That you perforce may perish in Etzel's bloody land. 
Whoever rideth thither. Death ias he close at hand." 

25th Adventure. Dismissed with the old queen's bless- 
ing, the Burgundians leave Brunhild and her son in charge 
of a steward, and set out. As they are now sole possessors 
of the great Nibelung hoard, the poet terms them Nibelungs 
in the remainder of his work. Under the guidance of 
Hagen, who alone knows the way, the party reaches the 
banks of the Danube, where, finding no vessels to ferry 
them across, Hagen bids them wait until he provide means 
of transportation. Walking down the river, he surprises 
three swan-maidens bathing, and by capturing their gar- 
ments induces them to predict the future. Although one 
promises him all manner of pleasant things to recover her 
plumes, her companions, having secured theirs, warn Hagen 
that none but the priest will return safely to Burgundy, 
and inform him that he can secure a boat by assuring the 
ferry-man on the opposite bank that his name is Amalung. 

Thanks to this hint, Hagen induces the ferry-man to 
cross the river and springs into his boat, before the man, 
discovering the trick, attacks him with his oar. Forced to 
defend himself, Hagen slays the ferry-man, takes possession 
of his boat, and then proceeds to convey relays of the 
Burgundian army across the river. During his last trip, 
perceiving the chaplain on board and wishing to give the 
lie to the swan-maidens' prophecy, Hagen flings the priest 


into the water; but the long ecclesiastical garments buoy 
up their wearer and enable him to regain the bank which 
he has just left, whence he makes his way -back to Burgundy. 
On perceiving the priest's escape, Hagen realizes none of 
the rest will return, so grimly destroys the boat as soon 
as he is through with it. Then he directs his friends to ride 
onward, leaving him to guard their rear, for he knows the 
boatman's friends will pursue and attack them. 

26th, Adventure. Although Hagen 's apprehensions are 
soon justified, the Burgundians fight so bravely that their 
assailants are defeated. A little farther on they find a man 
sleeping by the roadside, and discover it is Ekkewart, lying 
in wait to warn them that Kriemhild cherishes evil in- 
tentions. But, undeterred by this warning also, the Bur- 
gundians continue their journey, and visit Bishop Pilgrin 
and Rudiger on their way. 

27th Adventure. While at Eudiger's, — ^where the ladies 
welcome all save Hagen with a kiss, and where the host 
lavishes gifts upon his guests, — Hagen suggests that a 
marriage be arranged between Giseler, the youngest Bur- 
gundian prince, and Eudiger's daughter. In compliance 
with this suggestion, a formal betrothal takes place. 

Then had the bride and bridegroom within a ring to stand. 
For such was then the custom; a merry stripling band 
Encircled the fair couple, and gaz'd on them their fill. 
And thought the while as idly as think young people still. 

This ceremony over, Eudiger prepares to guide the 
Burgundians to Btzel's court, where Kriemhild is rejoic- 
ing to think they will soon appear. 

28th Adventure. So patent are Kriemhild 's evil in- 
tentions, that Dietrich of Bern and his faithful henchman 
Hildebrand also caution the Burgundians to be on their 
guard. This second warning impresses the visitors, who 
at Hagen 's suggestion announce they will retain their 
weapons for three days. When they arrive at the palace, 
Kriemhild cordially embraces her youngest brother, but 
refuses the same welcome to the two others, and grimly 


a^is Hagen whether he has brought her gold. When he 
bluntly rejoins her treasures will remain in the Rhine until 
Doomsday, she abruptly turns her back upon him, and in- 
vites the rest to enter the palace, leaving their arms at the 
door. Thereupon Hagen announces his masters have vowed 
to spend the next three days in arms, a measure which 
Dietrich openly approves, informing Kriemhild to her very 
face that he is sure she means no good. 

29th Adventure. Although the three royal brothers 
accompany Kriemhild into the palace, Hagen lingers at 
the door, and, inviting the minstrel Volker to sit on the 
bench beside him, confides to him his fears, entreating him 
to stand by him, and promising to do the same in his behalf 
should the need occur. 

" Tell me now, friend Volker, will you stand me by. 
If these men of Kriemhild's would my mettle try? 
Show me, if you love me, faithful friend and true! 
And when you need my service I'll do as much for you." 

On seeing her foe so close at hand, Kriemhild summons 
four hundred warriors, and bids them attack Hagen, for at 
present he is the only one against whom she has sinister 
designs. To prove to the men that Hagen is guilty, she 
offers to meet and question her foe in their presence. On 
seeing her coming, Volker suggests they rise in token of 
respect, but Hagen grimly rejoins Kriemhild would merely 
take such politeness as a proof of weakness. Instead of 
rising, he therefore ostentatiously lays Siegfried's sword 
across his lap. After taunting Hagen with slaying her 
husband, — a charge he does not deny, — ^Kriemhild orders 
her men to slay him, but a single glance of his fiery eyes 
sends them back cringing, and the queen cannot prevail 
upon them to renew the attack. Seeing this, Volker and 
Hagen boldly join their friends in the banquet-hall, where 
Btzel — who is depicted as an inoffensive, unsuspicious old 
man — cordially bids them welcome. 

30th Adventure. On their way to their sleeping quarters 
that night, the Burgundians are jostled by some Huns, who, 
instigated by Kriemhild, are evidently seeking to provoke a 


quarrel. In spite of their efforts, however, the Burgundians 
reach their dormitory ia safety, where Hagen and Volker 
watch all night at the door to guard against surprise. It 
is well for them they do so, because at midnight Kriemhild 
dispatches a force to attack them, but again the Huns 
shriak away appalled on meeting Hagen 's menacing glance. 

31st Ad/venture. At dawn the Burgundians, still fully 
armed, march off to church, and after service proceed with 
the king and queen to view a tournament held in their 
honor. In these games Rudiger and Dietrich both refuse 
to take part, lest an accident should occur. Their pre- 
visions are justified, for, when Volker inadvertently slays 
a Hun, Kriemhild loudly clamors for vengeance, although 
her husband implores that peace be maintained. Fomented 
by Kriemhild 's secret efforts, such bad feelings have arisen 
among the Huns against their guests, that Etzel's own 
brother finally undertakes to compass their death. Mean- 
time the old king, having invited the Burgundians to a 
banquet, is surprised to see the princes arrive fully armed, 
but tries to show his friendship by promising they shaU 
bring up his son. 

32d Adventure. While the Burgundians are banqueting 
with the king of Hungary, their men are resting in the 
hall where they slept, under the charge of Dankwart, 
Hagen 's brother. There they are suddenly attacked by 
some Huns, and, although they manage to slay most of 
their first assailants, the deaths they deal kindle lasting 
animosity in the breast of the rest of the Huns. New 
forces therefore press into the haU, until all the Bur- 
gundians are slain, save Dankwart, who, cutting his way 
through the enemy's serried ranks, rushes into the hall 
where his brother is feasting, and reports what has occurred. 

" Be stirring, brother Hagen, you're sitting all too long. 
To you and God in heaven our deadly strait I plain; 
Yeomen and knights together lie in their quarters slain." 

33d Adventure. No sooner has this cry reached his ear, 
than Hagen, whipping out his sword, cuts off the head of 


Etzel's child, which bounces into its nwJther's lap. Then, 
calling to his brother to prevent any escape, Hagen shears 
off the hand of the minstrel who invited them to Hungary, 
before he begins slashing right and left. Paralyzed by 
the sight of their headless son, Etzel and Kriemhild sit 
immovable on their thrones, while Hagen despatches Volker 
to help Dankwart guard the door, and bids his masters 
make use of their weapons while they may. Although the 
Burgundians now slay ruthlessly, mindful of the kind- 
ness shown by Dietrich and Rudiger they refrain from 
attacking them or their men. When these noblemen there- 
fore beg permission to pass out safely with their friends, 
their request is unquestionably granted. Grasping the king 
and queen by the hand, Dietrich then leads them out of the 
hall, closely followed by Rudiger and their respective men, 
while the Burgundians continue the massacre until not a 
living foe is left in the hall. 

34th Adventure. Weary of slaughter, the Burgundians 
now sit down for a moment to rest, but, finding the presence 
of so many corpses distasteful, they fling §even hundred 
victims down the steps, those who are merely wounded being 
killed by the fall. The Huns, who come to pick up their 
dead, now set up so loud and persistent a cry for revenge, 
that their monarch is compelled to prepare a force to oust 
the Burgundians from his banquet-hall. Seeing the aged 
monarch himself advance at the head of the troops, Hagen, 
who guards the door, loudly jeers at him, whereupon Krirai- 
hild offers an immense reward to any one who will bring 
her his head. 

35th 'Adventure. The first to try to earn this guerdon 
is a Dane, who not only succeeds in entering the hall but 
in effecting a retreat. When, emboldened by this first suc- 
cess, he advances a second time with a new force, he is 
killed as well as his men. 

36th Adventure. After a second brief rest, the Bur- 
gundians prepare to meet a new assault directed by Kriem- 
hild, whose wrath now involves all her kinsmen, although 
at first she meditated the death of Hagen alone. The 


murder of his child has incensed even Eteel, and the Huns 
plan a general massacre to avenge their slain. Although 
the Burgundians offer to meet Etzel's forces in fair fight, 
provided they can return home unmolested if victorious, 
Kriemhild urges her husband to refuse unless Hagen is 
delivered up to their tender mercies. Deeming it dishonor- 
able to forsake a companion, the Burgundians reject these 
terms, whereupon Kriemhild, whose fury has reached a 
frantic point, orders the hall set on fire. 

Although the queen fancies the Burgundians will be 
roasted alive, the hall being built of stone offers them a 
place of refuge, and, as they quench in blood all the sparks 
that enter, they succeed in maintaining their position. 

'T was 'vrell for the Burgundians that vaulted was the roof; 
This was, in all their danger, the more to their behoof. 
Only about the windows from fire they suffer'd sore. 
Still, as their spirit impell'd them, themselves they bravely bore. 

The intensity of the heat causes such thirst, however, that 
Hagen bids his companions quench that too in the blood 
of the slain. Thus, six hundred Burgundians are found 
alive when a new Hungarian force bursts into the hall. 

37th, Adventure. Having failed in this third attempt, 
Kriemhild reminds Eudiger of his solemn oath, and bids 
him redeem his promise by slaying the Burgundians. 
Although this nobleman pleads with the queen, offering in- 
stead to relinquish* aU? he owns and leave her land a beggar, 
she insists upon his obedience to her commands. Fully 
armed, Eudiger, therefore, finally marches toward the hall 
and, arriving at the foot of the staircase, explains his posi- 
tion to the Burgundians. Knowing his generosity, Hagen, 
whose shield has been cut to pieces, begs for the one Eudiger 
carries, and, after receiving it, declares he will give a good 
account of himself before he yields. The signal for battle 
is then given and Eudiger and his men enter the hall, where, 
after many have fallen on both sides, Gemot, one of Kriem- 
hild 's brothers, and Eudiger slay each other. 

38th Adventure. A new batch of corpses having been 


flung down stairs, such a lament arises anuong the Huns 
that Dietrich of Bern inquires what it may mean. On 
learning that Rudiger has been slain, Dietrich bids Hilde- 
brand go and claim' his corpse, but, instead of acting merely 
as ambassador, this warrior first bandies words with Volker 
and then slays him. Seeing .this, Hagen drives him down 
the stairs, and discovers that all the Burgundians have now 
been slain, and that he and Gunther alone remain alive 
in the hall. Meantime Hildebrand having reported to 
Dietrich all that has occurred, this chief, hearing most of 
his men have perished, sallies forth to avenge them. 

39th Adventure. On approaching the hall, Dietrich 
summons Hagen and Gunther to surrender, promising to 
use his influence to secure their safe return home ; but the 
two Burgundians, feeling sure Kriemhild will show no 
mercy, refuse to yield. A duel, therefore, takes place be- 
tween Dietrich and the exhausted Hagen, in the course of 
which, by means of a sudden feint, Dietrich seizes and binds 
his foe. Then, leading him to Kriemhild, he implores her 
to be merciful to this prisoner, while he returns to secure 
Gunther also. 

" Fair and noble Kriemhild," thus Sir Dietrich spake, 
"Spare this captive warrior who full amends will make 

For all his past transgressions; him here in bonds you see; 

Revenge not on the fetter'd th' offences of the free." 

While Dietrich is securing Gunther in the same way, 
the queen, left alone with Hagen, again demands her treas- 
ures. Hagen rejoins that, having promised never to reveal 
their hiding-place as long as his lords live, he cannot reveal 
the secret to her. Hearing this statement, Kriemhild, whose 
cruelty now knows no bounds, orders Gunther — ^her last 
brother — slain, and herself carries his head to Hagen, as 
proof there ia no more reason for guarding the secret. 
Proudly informing her, since it now depends upon him 
alone, it will remain secret forever, Hagen so exasperates 
Kriemhild that, drawing from its scabbard the sword which 
once belonged to Siegfried, she hews off her prisoner's head 


with one revengeful stroke ! Although neither her husband 
nor Hildebrand have been quick enough to forestaU this 
crime, the latter is so exasperated by Kriemhild's cruelty 
that he now slays her in his turn. 

Hildebrand the aged, fierce on Kriemhild sprung; 

To the death he smote her as his sword he swung. 

Sudden and remorseless he his wrath did wreak. 

What could then avail her her fearful thrilling shriek? 

It is, therefore, in the presence of her corpse that Dietrich 
and Etzel utter the loud lament with which the Nibelungen- 
lied closes. 

There is, however, another poem called the Nibelungen- 
klage, or the Lament of the Nibelungs, wherein Etzel, 
Dietrich, Hildebrand, Bishop Pilgrin, and the rest utter 
successive laments over the slain. Then the spoil of the 
Burgundians is sent back to "Worms, where these lamenta- 
tions are continued, each mourner reciting the deeds of the 
man whose fate he bewails. This poem is, however, greatly 
inferioB to the real Nibelungenlied, and was evidently not 
composed by the same bard. 

" 'T is more than I can tell you what afterward befell. 
Save that there was weeping for friends belov'd so well 
Knights and squires, dames and damsels, were seen lamenting all. 
So here I end my story. This is the Nibelungers' Fall. 


The Anglo-Norman trouveres rightly considered the 
Story of the Holy Grail the central point of interest of 
the Arthurian cycle, or the grand climax in the legend. 

So many versions of the tale have been written by poets 
of dififerent nationalities and different ages — all of whom 
have added characteristic touches to the story — that, in- 
stead of following the text of any one particular version, 
a general outline of the two principal Holy Grail legends 
will be given here. Although all the poets do not mention 
the origin of the Holy Grail, or sacred vessel, a few trace 
its 'history back to the very beginning. They claim that 


when Lucifer stood next to the Creator, or Father, in the 
heavenly hierarchy, the other angels presented him with 
a wonderful crown, whose central jewel was a flawless 
emerald of unusual size. 

The advent of the Son, relegating Lucifer to the third 
instead of the second place, occasioned his apostasy, which, 
as Milton explains, was followed by war in heaven and by 
the expulsion of the rebel angels. During his fall from 
the heights of heaven to the depths of hell, the emerald, 
dropping out of Satan's crown, fell upon earth. There it 
was fashioned into the cup or dish which Our Lord used 
during the Last Supper, and in which Joseph of Arimathea 
caught a few drops of blood which flowed from His side. 
After the Crucifixion the Jews walled Joseph alive in a 
prison, where he was sustained in good health and spirits 
by the Holy Grail, which he had taken with him. In this 
prison Joseph lingered until Vespasian, hearing the story 
of Christ's passion, sent messengers to Palestine for relies, 
hoping they might cure his son Titus of leprosy. Restored 
to health by the sight of St. Veronica's handkerchief, — 
which had wiped away the bloody sweat from Our Lord's 
brow and bore the imprint of his feature, — Titus proceeded 
to Jerusalem, where he summoned the Jews to produce the 
body of Christ. Not being able to comply, they accused 
Joseph of having stolen it. Thereupon Titus, continuing 
his investigations, found Joseph alive and well in the prison 
where he was supposed to have perished. Free once more, 
yet dreading further persfecution, Joseph embarked, with 
his sister and brother-in-law Brons, in a vessel bound for 
Marseilles, the Holy- Grail supplying all their needs during 
the journey. On landing in France, Joseph was divinely 
instructed to construct a table, around which he and his 
companions could be seated, and where the Holy Grail sup- 
plied each guest with the food he preferred. But one seat 
at this table, in memory of Judas, was to remain empty 
until a sinless man came to occupy it. A sinner, once 
attempting to seat himself in it, was swallowed up by the 
earth, and Joseph was informed that the enchanter Merlin 


would in time make a similar table, where a descendant of 
Brons would have the honor of occupying this "Siege 
Perilous." From Marseilles, by gradual stages, and meet- 
ing with every kind of adventure on the way, Joseph, or 
his descendants, conveyed the Holy Grail to Glastonbury, 
in England, where it remained visible lontil people became 
too sinful for it to dwell any more in their midst. It was 
then borne off to Sarras, an island city, — ^presumably located 
in the Mediterranean, — ^where, according to one legend. 
King Evelake mounted guard over the treasure. 

According to another legend, a pilgrim knight laid a 
golden cross on the Holy Sepulchre, ardently praying for 
a son, whom at his birth he named Titurel and dedicated 
to the service of the Lord. After this Titurel had spent 
years in warfare against the Saracens and in doing good 
to the poor, an angel announced to him that he had been 
chosen to guard the Holy Grail, which was about to descend 
once more to earth, and take up its abode on Montsalvatch. 
This vision suflSeed to send Titurel off on a quest for the 
Holy Mountain, — ^which some authorities identify with the 
place of the same name on the east coast of Spain, — 
whither he was safely led by a guiding cloud. 

After ascending the steep mountain, Titurel was fav- 
ored with a glimpse of the Holy Grail, and he and a number 
of knights — also brought thither by miraculous means — 
erected a marvellous temple, whose foundations were laid 
by the angels, who labored at the edifice while the volunteer 
builders were at rest. In a marvellously short time a temple 
of transcendent beauty was thus finished, and, as soon as 
it was consecrated, the Holy Grail stole down from heaven 
on a beam of celestial light, to abide in its midst. Titurel, 
king and guardian of the Holy Grail, always presided at 
the table around which his knights gathered, and where 
one and all were miraculously fed. Besides, there appeared 
from time to time on the edge of the sacred vase, in letters 
of fire, instructions bidding a knight go out into the world 
to defend some innocent person or right some wrong. The 
Knights of the Holy Grail, or Templars, as they were in- 


differently styled, then immediately sallied forth to fulfil 
this behest, which according to their vows had to be accom- 
plished without revealing their name or origin. Once the 
command was that Titurel should marry, whereupon he 
wooed a Spanish maiden, by whom he had a son and daugh- 
ter. This son, marrying in the same way, had in time two 
sons and three daughters, one of whom became the mother 
of Parzival. 

Old and weary of reigning, Titurel finally resigned the 
care of the Holy Grail, first to his son, — who was slain in 
war, — and then to his grandson Amfortas. But the latter 
proved restless also, went out into the world, and, instead 
of serving the Holy Grail, lived a life of pleasure and ad- 
venture. "Wounded by a thrust from a poisoned lance, — 
some authors claim it was the one which wounded the 
Saviour's side, — ^Amfortas sadly returned to Montsalvatch, 
where the mere thought of the veiled Holy Grail increased 
his pain by intensifying his remorse. There, one day, he 
read on the rim of the cup, that his wound was destined to 
be healed by a guileless fool, who would accidentally climb 
the mountain and, moved by sympathy, would inquire the 
cause of his suffering and thereby make it cease. 

We have already mentioned the fact that Parzival was 
a great-grandson of Titurel ; his mother, fearing he would 
die young, like his father, were he to become a knight, 
brought him up in seclusion, telling him nothing about 
knights, fighting, or the world. Straying in the forest one 
day this youth encountered a couple of knights, whom he 
mistook for angels, owing to their bright array, and offered 
to worship. The knights, however, refused his homage, and 
good-naturedly advised him to hasten to Arthur's court 
and learn to become a knight too. 

Parzival now left his mother, — ^who died of grief,— went 
to court (meeting sundry adventures on the way), and 
there asked to be knighted. He was told, however, he must 
first procure a horse and armor, whereupon he followed 
and slew an insolent knight who defied King Arthur. But 
Parzival did not know how to remove the armor from his 


dead foe, until a passing knight obligingly showed him how 
it was done. 

Parzival now spent a time of apprenticeship at court, 
where he learned among other things, that a knight should 
never be unduly inquisitive, then went to the rescue of a 
persecuted and virtuous queen, whom he wooed and mar- 
ried. He soon left her, however, to visit his mother, of 
whose death he was not aware. On his way home Parzival 
came to a lake, where a richly dressed fisherman informed 
him he might find a night's lodging in the castle on the 
hill, where he offered to conduct him. Thus Parzival pene- 
trated into the castle on Montsalvatch and was duly led 
into the banqueting hall. Awed by the splendor of his sur- 
roundings, the young candidate for knighthood silently 
noted that his host seemed to be suffering from a secret 
wound, and perceived that all the other guests were op- 
pressed by overwhelming sadness. Then suddenly the doors 
opened wide, and a strange procession entered the hall, 
slowly circled around the table, and again passed out! In 
this procession marched a servant bearing a bloody lance, at 
the sight of which all present groaned, then came maidens 
carrying the stand for the Holy Grail, which was reverently 
brought in by Titurel's grand-daughter. The vase was, how- 
ever, closely veiled, and it was only after repeated en- 
treaties from the knights present that the host unveiled it, 
uttering the while heart-rending groans. 

All present were now served with the food they most 
desired, which they ate in silence, and then the knights 
marched out of the hall, gazing reproachfully at Parzival, 
who silently wondered what all this might mean. His 
hunger sated, Parzival was conducted to luxurious sleeping 
apartments, but, when he was ready to leave on the morrow, 
all the castle seemed deserted, and it was only when he had 
crossed the drawbridge and it had been raised behind him, 
that a harsh voice was heard vehemently cursing him. 
Shortly after, on learning that a sympathetic inquiry would 
have dispelled the gloom in the palace, he had just left, 
Parzival attempted to return, but the mysterious castle was 


no longer to be found. Sueh was our hero's remorse for hia 
sin of omission that he continued the quest for years, doing 
meanwhile all manner of noble and heroic deeds. In re- 
ward, he was knighted by Arthur himself, and bidden by 
Merlin occupy "the Siege Perilous" where his name sud- 
denly appeared in letters of gold. 

Our version of the story explains that, just as he was 
about to sit down in the Siege Perilous, the witch Kundrie 
arrived, and hotly denounced him as an unfeeling wretch, 
a sufficient reminder to make Parzival immediately renew 
his quest. Adequate penance having been done at last, and 
the young knight having stood every test without losing his 
purity, Parzival was finally allowed to atone for his uncon- 
scious fault. Once more he arrived at the castle, once more 
entered the banquet hall, and once more beheld the mystic 
procession. Strengthened by silent prayer, Parzival then 
asked the momentous question ; whereupon Amf ortas ' wound 
was instantly healed, the aged Titurel released from the 
pain of living, Kundrie baptized, and Parzival unanimously 
hailed as future guardian of the Grail, an office he humbly 
yet proudly assumed. 

Another legend claims that his son Lohengrin, ordered 
by the Holy Grail to go and defend Elsa of Brabant, re- 
ceived from his father a magic horn, by means of which 
he was to announce his safe arrival at his destination, and 
to summon help whenever he wished to return. Instead of 
riding a charger, Lohengrin was conveyed in a swan-drawn 
skiff to Brabant, where he found Elsa prajmig for a cham- 
pion to defend her against Frederick of Telramund's accu- 
sation of having slain her little brother, who had mysteri- 
ously disappeared. 

Lohengrin, having proved the. falsity of the charge by 
defeating the accuser in a judicial duel, married Elsa, 
warning her she must never seek to discover his name or 
origin, under penalty of seeing him depart as suddenly as 
he had arrived. The machinations of Frederick of Telra- 
mund, and of his artful wife, finally drove Elsa to pro- 
pound the fatal question, and, as soon as Lohengrin has 


sorrowfully answered it, the swan appeared and bore Mm 
away! But, as Lohengrin departed, Elsa's brother reap- 
peared to serve as her protector.® 

This — ^mostly German — ^version of the Grail legend — 
has been used by Wolfram von Eschenbach for a long and 
famous epic, and by Wagner for his operas Parzival and 
Lohengriu. In the French and particularly in the English 
versions of the Quest for the Holy Grail, or Sangreal, Per- 
eival is with the other knights of Arthur's Round Table 
when they take this vow. He seeks for it, perceives it 
through a veil, but never entirely achieves the quest, since 
that privilege is reserved for the peerless Galahad. 

The versions of the Holy Grail Story of which Galahad 
is hero run about as follows : Galahad is the son of Launee- 
lot and Elaine, the latter 's nurse having, by means of 
enchantment, made her to appear as Guinevere — whom 
Launcelot loved. Deserted by the accidental father of her 
coming child, this Blaine — daughter of King Pelles — ^took 
refuge in a nunnery, where she gave birth to Galahad, whom 
when dying she entrusted to the nuns. Brought up by 
those holy women and strengthened in early infancy by 
frequent glimpses of the Holy Grail, — ^whose light was blind- 
ing to all but the perfectly pure, — ^Galahad reached man- 
hood as pure as when he was bom. One day Sir Launcelot 
and Sir Bors were summoned from Camelot to a small 
church near by, to act as sponsors for a young candidate 
for knighthood, who was presented to them by some nims. 
Launcelot and Bors, having thus heard Galahad take his 
vows, were not surprised to see him brought into their 
midst on a gala day, by Merlin or by the spirit of Joseph, 
and to hear him warmly welcomed by Arthur. Some ver- 
sions claim that Galahad, led to the Siege Perilous, found his 
name miraculously inscribed on it in letters of gold, and 
was told he alone should occupy that place at the Round 

According to some accounts, it was while all the knights 
were thus seated around Arthur's board on this occasion, 

' See the author's " Stories of the Wagner Operas " and " Legends 
of the Rhine." 


that the Holy Grail suddenly appeared in their midst, its 
radiance so veiled by its coverings that one and all vowed 
— ^when it had disappeared— never to rest until they had 
beheld it unveiled. Arthur, knowing this boon would be 
granted only to the absolutely pure and that they were all 
but one sinful men in various degrees, keenly regretted 
they should have made a vow which would entail a hopeless 
quest, and would at the same time leave him bereft of the 
very knights who had hitherto helped him to right the 
wrong and keep the pagans at bay. The knights hastened 
to church to receive a blessing before they departed, and 
then went off, singly or in small groups, to seek the Holy 

When Galahad arrived at Arthur's court, he was fully 
armed, save that an empty scabbard hung by his side and 
that he bore no shield. Soon after his arrival, a servant 
breathlessly announced he had just seen a large block of 
stone floating down the river, into which a beautiful sword 
was thrust to the hilt. On hearing this, Arthur and his 
knights hurried down to the landing place, but, although 
the stone paused there, neither the king nor any of the 
nobles at his court were able to draw out the sword. It 
became evident it was intended for Galahad only, when he 
easily drew it out of the stone. It was then, according to 
this version, that the other knights pledged themselves to 
go in quest of the Holy Grail. Riding off alone, Galahad 
came to an abbey, where hung a white shield bearing a red 
cross, which he learned had once belonged to the king of 
Sarras, who was converted by Joseph's son. The red cross 
was drawn with blood, and was to remain undimmed for its 
future bearer, Galahad. 

The young champion, thus completely equipped, rode 
off and next arrived at the enchanted Castle of the Holy 
Grail. There he saw Titurel, the sleeping king, and Am- 
fortas, the acting king, before whom the Grail passed un- 
seen because he had sinned. Silently Galahad watched the 
mystic procession of bleeding spear, miraculous dish or cup, 
and Seven-branched Candlesticks. Like Parzival he hesi- 



tated to ask any questions, and failed to achieve the Holy 
Grail, because, although possessing all other virtues, he 
could not entirely forget himself for the sake of others, 
and thus lacked true sympathy or altruism. Thrust out 
of the Castle — ^like Parzival — ^he wandered through a 
blighted country, where he met the Loathley Damsel, who 
in punishment for her sins was turned loose into the world 
to work evil to men. She hotly reviled Galahad for not 
having asked the momentous question, and the youth, learn- 
ing thus in what way he had been wanting, solemnly vowed 
to return to the castle and atone for his omission. 

But meantime the enchanted Castle had vanished, and 
Galahad, the Champion of Purity, — ^whose red color he 
always wears, — ^travelled through the world, righting the 
wrong. He arrived thus at the gate of a castle defended 
by seven knights, — ^the Seven Deadly Sins, — with whom he 
struggled to such good purpose that he defeated them, and 
was free to enter into the Castle of the Maidens, or place 
where the Active Virtues have long been kept in durance 
vile. But, the door still being locked, Galahad was glad to 
receive the key proffered by an old monk, who, in the legend, 
personified Righteousness. 

Galahad, the emblem of a pure soul, now penetrated 
into the castle, where the maidens blessed him for setting 
them free, and where he modestly received their thanks. 
Among these maidens was Lady Blanchefleur, Galahad's 
match in purity, to whom he bade farewell as soon as their 
nuptials were solemnized, for he realized The Quest could 
be achieved only by a virgin knight. 

Once more Galahad rides through the world, and this 
time he again finds and enters into the castle of the Grail, 
where he once more beholds the Sacred Mysteries. His 
heart full of sympathy for the suffering Amfortas, he now 
overlooks the rules of formal politeness in his desire to 
help, and propounds the decisive question. Immediately a 
refulgent light shines forth from the veiled Grail in all its 
life-giving radiance, and King Amfortas, healed of his sin, 
and hence able to see the vessel, dies of joy, just as an angel 


bears the priceless treasure away from the Enchanted 
Castle, where it is no longer to sojourn. 

Longing for the time when he too can see the Grail un- 
veiled, Galahad remounts his milk-white steed and rides 
through the world, where everybody thanks him for freeing 
the world of the pall of darkness and sin which has rested 
upon the land ever since Amfortas, titulary guardian of 
the Holy Grail, sinned so grievously. Riding thus, Galahad 
comes at last to the sea, where King Solomon's ship awaits 
him. This vessel has been miraculously preserved for this 
purpose, and sent here to convey him safely to Sarras, 
"the spiritual place." It is the present home of the Holy 
Grail, which had already sojourned there after the death 
of Joseph of Arimathea. 

The ship in which Galahad embarks is steered by an 
angel, one of the Guardians of the Holy Grail, and the cup 
it holds, although closely veiled from profane glances, casts 
beams of refulgent light upon Galahad and his companions 
Sir Percival and Sir Bors. They two, however, not being 
perfectly pure, cannot clearly distinguish the Grail, whose 
sight fills the soul of Galahad with ineffable rapture. Be- 
fore long the ship arrives at Sarras, the fabulous city, where 
Galahad can hang up his sword and shield and take his 
well-earned rest, for the Quest is at last achieved! The 
travellers are welcomed by an old man, and, when the king 
of Sarras dies, the people unanimously elect Galahad their 
next ruler. 

After governing them wisely for a year, Galahad — ^who 
prayed in King Solomon's ship that he might pass out of 
the world whenever he should ask it — ^begged for the death 
of the body so he might find the eternal life of the soul. 

When he died, the Holy Grail, which had been piously 
guarded in Sarras, returned to heaven, for Galahad's work 
was finished on earth, as is indicated by the frescos of the 
Boston library, where angels guard a Golden Tree of 
achievement whose branches reach right up into heaven. 


In searehiag among Dutch masterpieces of literature, 
we find that their greatest epic is "Joannes Boetgezant," 
or John the Messenger of Repentance. This epic in six 
books, on the life of John the Baptist, was written in 1662 
by Vondel, and bears many traits of resemblance to Milton's 
Paradise Lost. 

It has been conjectured that the most famous of all the 
animal epics or beast fables originated in Flanders or 
Luxembourg, which for a time was included in the Low 
Countries. This epic, which has been translated into every 
European langua^ and has even found its way into the 
Far East, has been frequently remodelled. The oldest ex- 
tant MS. in Latin dates back to the eleventh or twelfth 
century. Among modem versions the most clever, finished, 
and popular is Goethe's "Eeineeke Fuchs."^ 

In this poem he describes how the animals assemble at 
"Whitsuntide to complain to their king, Noble, the Lion, 
about the dark deeds of Reynard the Fox. The main griev- 
ance is that of Isegrim, the Wolf, who claims Reynard 
blinded three of his offspring and insulted his wife. Speak- 
ing French, the Lapdog "Wackerlos next pathetically de- 
scribes how he was robbed of a sausage, which the Tom- 
cat vehemently declares was his. 

Having heard the depositions of the Wolf, the Dog, the 
Cat, the Panther, aud the Hare, Noble is about to sentence 
the delinquent, when Grimbart, the Badger, — ^unele of 
Reynard — rises to defend the accused. Artfully he turns 
the tables and winds up his plausible peroration with the 
statement that Reynard, repenting of all past sins, has 
turned hermit, and is now spending his time in fasting, 
alms-giving, and prayer ! 

Just as Noble is about to dismiss the case as non-proven, 

" See the author's " Legends of the Middle Ages." 


Henning the Cock appeals, followed by his sons, who bear 
on a litter the mangled remains of a hen, strangled by 
Kejmard, who slipped into the chicken-yard in the guise of 
a monk. 

The king immediately dispatches Brown the Bear to 
Malepartus to summon Reynard to appear at court. On. 
arriving at his destination, the Bear, although still resent- 
ing the king's recommendations to be wary, allows him- 
self to be led to a half-split tree-trunk, within which Rey- 
nard assures him he will find stores of honey to refresh 
himself. Just as soon as the Bear's nose and forepaws are 
greedily inserted into the crack, Reynard slyly removes the 
wedges and decamps, leaving the Bear a prisoner and howl- 
ing with pain. 

His roars soon attract the peasant and his son, who 
beat the captive until he wrenches himself loose, at the 
cost of some patches of skin and of a few claws. The Bear, 
returning to court in this plight, is taxed with stupidity 
and greed, and Hintze the Cat is sent to sum m on Reynard 
to court. The Cat, hungry also, is led to a small opening 
in a barn which Reynard declares is swarming with mice, 
but where the poor Tomcat is caught in a trap, whence he 
escapes only after having received a beating and lost one 

His woful report decides the king to send Grimbart the 
Badger to summon his nephew to court. Reynard receives 
this emissary most courteously, and, on hearing the king 
will raze his fortress if he does not obey, sets out for court. 
On the way Reynard begs Grimbart to act as his confessor, 
and, having unburdened his conscience, does penance and 
receives absolution. But scarcely has this ceremony been 
completed when Reynard, spying some fat hens, begins to 
chase them, and is only with difficulty recalled to a sense 
of what is fitting. 

On arriving at court, Reynard hypocritically regrets so 
many people have slandered him to the king, and tries to 
refute every charge. He is, however, sentenced to the gal- 
lows, but even on the road thither devises a plan to escape. 


Pretending regret for his past, he humbly begs the king's 
permission to address the spectators, and in a lengthy speech 
describes how he was led astray in his youth by Isegrim, 
the Wolf. He also declares his only regret is to die before 
he can reveal to the king the hiding-place of a vast treasure, 
which would enable him to outwit the plots of some rebels 
who are even now conspiring to kill him. The king, hear- 
ing this, immediately orders a reprieve, and, questioning the 
Fox in secret, learns that the conspirators are Brown the 
Bear, Isegrim the Wolf, and others. To reward the Pox 
for saving her husband's life, the queen now obtains his 
pardon, which Noble grants ia exchange for information 
in regard to the treasure. 

Having given these indications, the Fox sets out on a 
pilgrimage to Eome, escorted by the Ram and the Hare, 
which latter is slain as soon as they arrive at Malepartus, 
where Rejoiard wishes to bid his family farewell. After 
feasting upon the flesh of this victim, Reynard puts his 
bones into a wallet and ties it on the Ram's back, bidding 
him hasten back to court with this present and receive his 
reward! Although circumstantial evidence is enough to 
convict the poor Ram of murder, a few days later new 
complaints are made against Reynard by a Rabbit and a 
Crow. Noble, roused again, prepares to batter down the 
walls of Malepartus, and Grimbart,- perceiving Reynard's 
peril, hurries off to give him warning. 

He finds Reynard contemplating some young doves, upon 
which he intends to dine. On hearing what Grimbart has 
to say, Reynard declares it would be easy to acquit himself 
could he only gain the king's ear long enough to explain the 
real state of affairs. Then he again begs Grimbart to act 
as his father confessor, and, resuming his confession where 
he left off, makes a clean breast of all his misdeeds. Shortly 
after this, Reynard meets the Ape, who tells him that 
should he ever be in a quandary he must call for the aid of 
this clever ally or of his wife. 

At his second appearance at court, the Fox openly re- 
grets there are so many vile people in the world ready to 


accuse innocent persons, and proceeds to set all his doings 
in such a plausible light, that the king, instead of sentencing 
him. again to death, allows him to settle his case by fighting 
a judiciary duel with the Wolf. The preparations for the 
duel are ludicrous because the Fox, advised by the Ape, 
is shaven smooth, greased until too slippery to be held, 
and duly strengthened by advice and potations. Blinded 
by the sand continually whisked into his eyes by the Fox's 
tail, unable to hold his all too slippery opponent, the 
Wolf is beaten and the Fox acquitted by the Judgment 
of God! 

Although Noble now oflfers to make Reynard his privy 
counsellor, the Fox returns home, where his admiring wife 
and children welcome him rapturously. 

In some versions of the tale Reynard further avenges 
himself by suggesting, when the king is taken ill, that he 
can be cured if he eats the head of a wolf just seven years 
old, knowing the only wolf of that age is Isegrim, who 
throughout the epic is fooled by the clever Fox, the hero 
of endless adventures which have delighted young and old 
for centuries. 


The different Scandinavian dialects formed but one 
language mitil about 1000 A.D., when they split up into 
two great groups, the East Northern including the Danish 
and Swedish; and the West Northern including the Ice- 
landic, Norwegian, and Faroese. Danish literature boasts 
of some five hundred chivalric ballads (Kjaempeviser) , on 
partly historical and partly mythical themes, which were 
composed between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. 
It was the Danish translator of the Bible who introduced 
his countrymen to Charlemagne and Ogier, whose legends 
received their finished forms at his hands. In 1555 Reynard 
the Fox was translated into Danish from the French, in 
1663 the Heimskringla from the Icelandic, but it was in 
1641 that Arrebo composed the Hexaemeron or first real 
Danish epic. In the nineteenth century Paludan Miiller 
also wrote epics, which, however, are not very popular 
outside of his country. The runes of Sweden bear witness 
to the existence of sundry ancient sagas or epics which 
perished when Christianity was introduced into the land. 
In the Middle Ages, a gleeman at the court of Queen 
Euphemia (1303-12) composed the Euphemiaviser, or ro- 
mances of chivalry done into Swedish verse. The greatest 
epic work of Sweden is, however, Tegner's Frithjof 's Saga 
(1846), relating the adventures and courtship of an old 
Scandinavian hero, a work of which a complete synopsis 
is given in the author's Legends of the Middle Ages. 

The elite of the Norwegians emigrated to Iceland for 
political reasons during the twelfth and thirteenth cen- 
turies. Owing to their geographical isolation and to the 
long winters, these people were thrown entirely on their 
own resources for amusement. The hours of darkness were 
beguiled by tales and songs, so yo^ung and old naturally de- 
lighted in the recitations of the skalds. This gave birth to 
an oral literature of great value, and, although many of 



the works of the skalds have perished, the Icelanders fortu- 
nately recovered in 1643,— after centuries of oblivion,— 
the Elder Edda, an eleventh-century collection of thirty- 
three poems on mythical and heroic subjects by Saemunt 
the Wise. 

There is also a similar work in prose known as the 
Younger Edda, by Snorro Sturluson, which contains tales 
of Scandinavian mythology, and this writer also collected 
many of the old hero tales in his Heimskringla. 

Many of the old sagas have been preserved in more or 
less perfect forms. They are generally divided into three 
groups, the first including sagas on historical themes, such 
as the Egilssaga, the Eyrbyggjasaga, the Njalssaga, the 
Laxdaelasaga, and the already mentioned Heimskringla. 

The second, mythical, or heroic group comprises the 
Grettis saga and the Volsunga, the finest of all the sagas 
and one of the main sources of the Nibelungenlied and of 
Wagner's Trilogy. This epic has been wonderfully ren- 
dered in modem English by William Morris. 

In the third and last group are massed together the 
romantic epics, translations or imitations of the Latin, 
French, and German epics and romances, relating to 
Alexander, Charlemagne, Parsival, etc. The finest saga in 
this group is the Gunnlaugssaga. 

Norwegian literature goes back to the skald Bragi (c. 
800), whose principal poem, Eagnarsdrapa, relates the 
marvellous adventures of the national hero Ka,gnar Lodbrog. 
This poem was incorporated by Snorro Sturluson in what 
is known as the Snorro Edda. Most of the poems in the 
Elder Edda are also of Norwegian origin, as well as Hvin 's 
Haustlong or account of a famous warrior. In the thirteenth 
century prose sagas were plentiful among the Danes, who 
took special pleasure in the Thidrekssaga (1250), or life 
and adventures of Dietrich von Bern; in the Karlamag- 
nussaga, or story of Charlemagne ; and in the Barlaamssaga 
ok Josaphats, or Hebrew tale of Barlaam and Josaphat. 

Norway also possesses a rich fund of folk tales, which 


have been collected by Asbjomsen, and which, having many 
of the qualities of prose epies, have delighted many gen- 


The Second Part of the Edda contains the famous Vol- 
sunga Saga, or Epic of the Volsungs, which has not only 
given rise to the Nibelungenlied and to Wagner's famous 
Trilogy of operas, but also to William Morris' Sigurd the 
Volsung. The plot of this, the most characteristic and 
famous of the Scandinavian sagas, is as follows : 

Volsung, a lineal descendant from Odin, built his dwell- 
ing around the trunk of a mighty oak, the Branstock, whose 
branches overshadowed his whole dwelling. When Signy, 
Volsung 's only daughter, was married against her will to 
Siggier, king of the Goths, a one-eyed stranger (Odin) 
suddenly appeared among the wedding guests, and thrust 
a priceless sword (Balmung) deep into the bole of the 
homestead oak. Before departing, as abruptly as he had 
come, the stranger proclaimed the weapon should belong to 
the man who pulled it out, and prophesied that it would 
assure him the victory in every fight. 

" Now let the man among you whose heart and hand may shift 
To pluck it from the oak-wood e'en take it for my gift. 
Then ne'er, but his own heart falter, its point and edge shall fail 
Until the night's beginning and the ending of the tale." ' 

Although conscious that Odin had been in their midst, 
Volsung courteously invited the bridegroom to try his luck 
first, then himself attempted to draw out the divine sword, 
before he bade his ten sons exert their strength in turn. 
Only the youngest, Sigmund, was at last able to perform 
the required feat, and when Siggier eagerly offered to pur- 
chase his trophy from him, he firmly refused to part with 
it. Full of anger at this refusal, the Goth departed on the 
morrow, but although Signy loyally warned her kinsmen 

" See the author's " Myths of Northern Lands." 
"AH the quotations in this chapter are from Wm. Morris' 
" Sigurd the Volsung." 


that her husband was plotting revenge, the Volsungs ac- 
cepted his invitation to visit them soon. 

When Volsung and his ten sons arrived ia Gothland, 
Signy again bade them beware of coming treachery, but all 
in vain. The brave Volsungs, drawn into an ambush by 
their wily foe, were seized and bound fast to a fallen tree 
in a lonely forest, where every night a wild beast, devoured 
one of these helpless men. Closely watched by her cruel 
husband, Signy could lend no aid to the prisoners, but when 
none but Sigmund, the youngest, was left, she directed a 
slave to smear his face with honey. The wild beast, attracted 
by the sweet odor, licked the face of the last prisoner, who, 
thus enabled to catch its tongue between his teeth, struggled 
with the beast until his bonds broke and he was free ! 

When Siggier sent to investigate as usual the next morn- 
ing, his messenger reported no prisoners were left bound 
to the tree and that only a heap of bones was visible. Sure 
his foes were all dead, Siggier ceased to watch his wife, 
who, stealing out into the forest to bury the remains of her 
kin, discovered Sigmund in a thicket, and promised to aid 
him to obtain his revenge. To redeem this promise she 
sent to her brother, one after another, two of her sons to 
be trained as avengers, but, as both of these children proved 
deficient in courage, she came to the conclusion none but a 
pure-blooded Volsung would meet their requirements. To se- 
cure an offspring of this strain, Signy, disguised as a gypsy, 
secretly visited her brother's hut, and when their child, Sin- 
fiotli, was older, sent him to Sigmund to foster and train. 

With a youthful helper whom nothing could daunt, Sig- 
mund, after achieving sundry adventures, lay in wait in 
Siggier 's cellar, but, warned by two of his young children 
that murderers were hiding behind his casks, Siggier had 
them seized and cast into separate cells. There he decreed 
they should starve to death. But, before their prison was 
closed, Signy cast into it a bundle of straw, wherein she 
had concealed Balmung, the magic sword. Thanks to this 
weapon, Sigmund and Sinfiotli not only hewed their way 
out of their separate prisons, but slew all the Goths who 


attempted to escape from Siggier's dwelling, which, they set 
aflame. But, although both proposed to save Signy, she 
merely stepped out of the house long enough to reveal 
Sinfiotli's origin and bade them farewell, ere she plunged 
back into the flames ! 

And then King Siggier's roof-tree upheaved for its utmost fall, 

And its huge walls clashed together, and its mean and lowly things 

The fire of death confounded with the tokens of the kings. 

A sign for many people on the land of the Goths it lay, 

A lamp of the earth none needed, for the bright sun brought the day. 

Feeling he had done his duty by avenging his father's 
and brothers' death, Sigmund now returned home, where 
in his old age he was slain in battle shortly after his 
marriage to a young wife. Finding him dying on the 
battle-field, this wife bore off the fragments of his magic 
sword as sole inheritance for his child, whom she hoped 
would prove a boy who could avenge him. One version of 
the story relates that to escape the pursuit of Sigmund 's 
foes this expectant mother plunged into the woods and 
sought help and refuge in the smithy of Mimer, a magician 
as well as a blacksmith. Here she gave birth to Sigurd, 
who, as she died when he was bom, was brought up by 
Mimer, who marvelled to find the boy absolutely fearless. 

Another version claims that, discovered by a Viking, 
mourning over her dead spouse, the widow was carried off 
by him, and consented to become his wife on condition he 
would prove a good foster-father to Sigmund 's child. In 
this home Sigurd was educated by the wisest of men, 
Regin, who taught him all a hero need know, and directed 
him how to select his wonderful steed Grane or Greyfell (a 
descendant of Odin's Sleipnir), from a neighboring stud. 

Seeing the youth ready for adventure, Regin now told 
him how the gods Odin, Hoenir, and Loki, wandering upon 
earth in the guise of men, once slew an otter, which they 
carried to a neighboring hut, asking to have its meat 
served for their dinner. Their host, however, exclaiming 
they had killed his eldesrt son who often assumed the form 
of an otter, seized and bound them fast, vowing they 


should not be free until they gave as ransoni gol4 enough 
to cover the huge otter-skin. 

The gods, knowing none but a magic treasure would 
suffice for that, bargained for the release of Loki, who 
departed in quest of the dwarf Andvari, the collector of an 
immense hoard of gold by magic means. As the wily And- 
vari could not easily be found, it required all the astuteness 
of the god of evil to discover him in the guise of a fish at the 
source of the Rhine, and to catch him by means of the sea- 
goddess' infallible net. 

Having the dwarf in his power, Loki wrung from him 
his huge treasure, his Helm of Dread, or cap of invisibility, 
and even tore from his very finger a magic ring of gold, 
thus incurring the dwarf's curse. 

" For men a curse thou bearest: entangled in my gold. 
Amid my woe abideth. another woe imtold. 
Two brethren and a father, eight kings my grief shall slay; 
And the hearts of queens shall be broken, and their eyes shall 

loathe the day. 
Lo, how the wilderness blossoms! Lo, how the lonely lands 
Are waving with the harvest that fell from my gathering hands! " 

Scorning this prediction, Loki hastened to the rescue of 
his fellow-gods ; but, as the otter-skin stretched further and 
further, it required not only all the treasure, but even the 
helmet aad the serpent ring of gold, to cover it and thus 
complete the required ransom. 

The new owner of the treasure now gloated over his 
gold until his very nature changed, and he was transformed 
into a hideous dragon. One of his two remaining sons, 
Pafnir, entering the hut, slew the dragon before he realized 
it was his father, and then, fascinated by treasure and 
ring, bore them off to a lonely heath, where in the guise 
of a dragon he too mounted guard over them. This ap- 
propriation of these treasures was keenly resented by his 
brother Begin, who, unable to cope with the robber himself, 
now begged Sigurd to help him. Like Mimer in the other 
version of the tale. Begin was an experienced blacksmith, 
but, notwithstanding all his skill, Sigurd broke every blade 


he forged for this task. Finally the young hero hammered 
out of the fragments of his dead father's blade a weapon 
which sheared the anvil in two, and could neatly divide a 
number of fleeces floating down a stream. 

Properly mounted and armed, Sigurd was guided by 
Eegin to the Glittering Heath, the place where Fafnir 
guarded his gold. A one-eyed ferryman (Odin) conveyed 
the youth across the river, advising him to dig a pit in 
the track the dragon had worn in his frequent trips to the 
river to drink. Hidden in this pit — ^the ferry-man ex- 
plained — ^the youth could mortally wound the dragon while 
he crawled over his head. 

This advice being too pertinent to be scorned, Sigurd 
faithfully carried out the plan and slew the dragon, whose 
fiery blood poured down upon him and made every part 
of his body invulnerable, save a tiny spot between his 
shoulders, where a Hme-leaf stuck so closely that the dragon 
blood did not touch the skin. 

While Sigurd was still contemplating the fallen monster, 
Eegin joined him, and, fearing lest he might claim part of 
the gold, plotted to slay him. First, he bade Sigurd cut 
out the heart of the dragon and roast it for him, a task which 
the youth obediently performed, but in the course of which 
he stuck a burnt finger in his mouth to allay the smart. 
This taste of Fafnir 's heart blood then and there conferred 
upon Sigurd the power to understand the language of some 
birds near by, which exclaimed that Regin was coming be- 
hind him to slay him with his own sword ! Enraged at such 
ingratitude and treachery, Sigurd now slew Regin, and 
after piling up most of the treasure in a cave, — ^where it 
continued to be guarded by the dragon's corpse, — Sigurd 
rode away, taking with him his sword, the magic helmet, 
and the ring. 

Still guided by the birds, Sigurd next rode up a moun- 
tain, crowned by a baleful light, which he presently dis- 
covered emanated from a fire forming a barrier of flame 
around a fortress. Setting spurs to his divine steed, Sigurd 
rode right through these flames, which then flickered and 


died down, and discovered in the centre of the fortress a 
mound, whereon lay an apparently lifeless warrior. Using 
his sword to cut the armor fastenings, Sigurd discovered, 
beneath this armor, the Valkyr or battle-maiden Brynhild, 
who, on recovering consciousness, hailed her return to life 
and light with rapture and warmly thanked her deliverer. 
Then the two, having fallen in love with each other at 
first sight, explained to each other who they were; and 
Sigurd, after relating his own origin and adventures, 
learned that Brynhild, a Valkyr, having defied Odin by 
saving a man he had doomed to death, had been condemned 
to mate with any mortal who claimed her hand. Dread- 
ing to become the prey of a coward, Brynhild implored 
Odin to surround her with a barrier of fire which none save 
a brave man could cross. Although a goddess, she admits 
she loves her rescuer, and gladly accepts the magic ring he 
tenders and promises to be his wife. 

Then he set the ring on her finger and once, if ne'er again, 

They kissed and clung together, and their hearts were full and fain. 

The hero, however, doomed to press on in quest of 
further adventures, soon left Brynhild in the castle where 
he had found her, still protected by the barrier of flame, 
and rode off to Burgundy, the land of the Niblungs. Here 
reigned Guiki, whose fair daughter Gudrun once dreamt 
that a falcon, after hovering for some time over her house, 
nestled ia her bosom, which she soon beheld dyed red by 
its life-blood. Disturbed by this ominous dream, Gudrun 
visited Brynhild and besought her interpretation, only to 
learn she would marry a king who would in time be slain 
by his foes. 

Shortly after this occurrence, Sigurd reached the land 
of the Niblungs and challenged Gunnar, brother of Gudrun, 
to fight. But, rather than cross swords with the slayer of 
a dragon, Gunnar offered the stranger his hand in friend- 
ship and sent for his sister to give him the cup of welcome. 
While sojourning here with the Niblungs, Sigurd dis- 
tinguished himself by athletic feats and, when war broke 


out, by conquering their foes. These proofs of strength 
and daring captivated the heart of Gudrun, who, seeing 
Sigurd paid no attention to her, finally prevailed upon 
her mother to give her a love potion, which she offered to 
him on his return from one of his adventures. 

He laughed and took the cup: but therein with the blood of the earth 
Earth's hidden might was mingled, and deeds of the cold sea's birth. 
And things that the high gods turn from, and a tangle of strange 

Deep guile, and strong compelling, that whoso drank thereof 
Should remember not his longing, should cast his love away. 
Remembering dead desire but as night remembereth day." 

No sooner has this potion been quaffed than our hero, 
utterly oblivious of earlier promises to Brynhild, sued for 
Gudrun 's hand, and was promised she should be his bride 
if he helped Gunnar secure Brynhild. 

In behalf of his future brother-in-law — ^whose form he 
assumed — Sigurd once more rode through the flames, and, 
although haunted by vague memories of the past, wrested 
from Brynhild the magic betrothal ring he had given her, 
and claimed her as bride. Compelled by fate to wed any 
man who rode through the flames to claim her, Brynhild 
reluctantly obeyed Sigurd — ^whom she did not recognize — 
and was duly married to Gunnar, king of the Niblungs. 
But, on perceiving Sigurd at his court, she vainly strove 
to make him remember her and his vows, and was filled 
with bitter resentment when she perceived his utter de- 
votion to Gudrun, his present bride. 

Meantime, although Gunnar had secured the wife he 
coveted, he was anything but a happy man, for Brynhild 
would not allow him to approach her. Sigurd, to whom he 
finally confided this unsatisfactory state of aiSairs, finally 
volunteered to exert his fabulous srtrength to reduce to 
obedience the rebellious bride, whom he turned over to his 
brother-in-law in a submissive mood, after depriving her 
of her girdle and ring, which he carried off as trophies 
and gave to Gudrun. 

Brynhild 's resentment, however, still smouldered, and 


■when Gudrun, her sister-in-law, attempted to claim prece- 
dence when they were bathing in the river, she openly quar- 
relled with her. In the course of this dispute, Gudrun 
exhibited the magic ring, loudly proclaiming her husband 
had wooed and won Gunnar's bride! Two distinct parties 
now defined themselves at court, where Hogni, a kinsman 
6f the Niblungs, vehemently espoused Brynhild's cause. By 
some secret means — for his was a dark and tortuous mind, 
ever plotting evil — Hogni discovered the trick of the magic 
potion, as weU as Blrynhild's previous wooing by Sigurd, 
and proposed to her to avenge by blood the insult she had 

According to one version of the tale, Hogni, who dis- 
covers in what spot Sigurd is vulnerable, attacks him while 
he is asleep in bed and runs his lance through the fatal 
spot. The dying Sigurd therefore has only time to bid his 
wife watch over their children ere he expires. By order of 
Gudrun, his corpse is placed on a pyre, where it is to be 
consumed with his wonderful weapons and horse. Just as 
the flames are rising, Brynhild, who does not wish to sur- 
vive the man she loves, either plunges into the flames and 
is consumed too, or stabs herself and asks that her corpse 
be burned beside Sigurd's, his naked sword lying between 
them, and the magic ring on her finger. 

" I pray thee a prayer, the last word in the world I speak. 

That ye bear me forth to Sigurd and the hand my hand would seek; 

\e bale for the dead is builded, it is wrought full wide on the plain, 

'fe is raised for Earth's best Helper, and thereon is room for twain: 

Ye have hung the shields about it, and the Southland hangings 

There lay me adown b;^. Sigurd and my head beside his head: 
But ere ye leave us s) 'iping, draw his Wrath from out the sheath. 
And lay that Light of the Branstock and the blade that frigh.ted 

Betwixt my side and Sigurd's, as it lay that while agone. 
When once in one bed together we twain were laid alone: 
How then when the flames flare upward may I be left behind? 
How then may the road he wendeth be hard for my feet to find*? 
How then in the gates of Valhall may the door of the gleaming ring 
Caash to on the heel of Sigurd, as I follow on my king? " 



Another version of the tale relates that Sigurd was slain 
by Hogni while hunting in the forest, as the story runs in 
the Nibelungenlied. Next we are informed that the king 
of the Huns demanded satisfaction from Gunnar for his 
sister Brynhild's death, and was promised Gudrun's hand 
in marriage. By means of another magic potion, Sigurd's 
widow was induced to marry the king of the Huns, to whom 
she bore two sons. But, when the effect of the potion wore 
off, she loathed this second marriage and dreamed only of 
avenging Sigurd's death and of getting rid of her second 

As in the Nibelungenlied, Atli invited her kin to Hun- 
gary, where they arrived after burying the golden hoard 
in a secret spot in the Rhine, a spot they pledged them- 
selves never to reveal. Once more we have a ride to Hun- 
gary, but Gudrun, seeing her husband means treachery, 
fights by her brother's side. Throughout this battle Gunnar 
sustains the courage of the Niblungs by playing on his harp, 
but, when only he and Hogni are left, they are overpowered 
and flung into prison. There Atli vainly tries to make 
them confess the hiding-place of the hoard, and, hearing 
Gunnar will not speak as long as Hogni lives, finally orders 
this warrior slain and his heart brought into Gunnar 's 

Convinced at last that the momentous secret now lies 
with him alone, Gunnar flatly refuses to reveal it. 

Then was Gunnar silent a little, and the shout in the hall had died, 
And he spoke as a man awakening, and turned on Atli's pride. 
" Thou all-rich King of the Fastlands, e'en such a man might I be 
That I might utter a word, and the heart should be glad in thee, 
And I should live and be sorry: for I, I only am left 
To tell of the ransom of Odin, and the wealth from the toiler reft. 
Lo, once it lay in the water, hid deep adown it lay, 
Till the gods were grieved and lacking, and men saw it and the day: 
Let it lie in the wa.ter once more, let the gods be rich and in peace! 
But I at least in the world from the words and the babble shall 

In his rage Atli orders the bound prisoner cast into a pit 
full of venomous serpents, where, his harp being flung after 


him in derision, Gunnar twangs its strings with his toes 
until he dies. To celebrate this victory, Atli orders a 
magnificent banquet, where he is so overcome by his many 
potations that Gudrun either stabs him to death with 
Sigurd's sword, or sets fire to the palace and perishes with 
the Huns, according to different versions of the story. 

A third version claims that, either cast into the sea 
or set adrift in a vessel in punishment for murdering Atli, 
Gudrun landed in Denmark, where she married the king 
and bore him three sons. These youths, in an attempt 
to avenge the death of their fair step-sister Swanhild, were 
stoned to death. As for Gudrun, overwhelmed by the 
calamities which had visited her in the course of her life, 
she finally committed suicide by casting herself into the 
flames of a huge funeral pyre. 

This saga is evidently a sun myth, the blood of the final 
massacres and the flames of the pyre being emblems of the 
sunset, and the slaying of Fafnir representing the defeat 
of cold and darkness which have carried off the golden 
hoard of summer. 

Ye have heard of Sigurd aforetime, how the foea of God he slew; 
How forth from the darksome desert the Gold of the Waters he drew ; 
How he wakened Love on the Mountain, and wakened Brynhild the 

And dwelt upon Earth for a season, and shone in all men's sight. 
Ye have heard of the Cloudy People, and the dimming of the day, 
And the latter world's confusion, and Sigurd gone away; 
Now ye know of the Need of the Nihlungs and the end of broken 

411 the death of kings and of kindreds and the Sorrow of Odin 

the Goth. 


There is strong evidence tliat the Finns, or some closely 
allied race, once spread over the greater part of central 
Europe. The two or more million Finns who now occupy 
Finland, and are subject — ^much against their will — ^to the 
Czar, are the proud possessors of an epic poem — ^the Kale- 
vala — ^which until last century existed only in the memory 
of a few peasants. Scattered parts of this poem were pub- 
lished in 1822 by Zacharias Topelius, and Elias Lonnrot, 
who patiently travelled about to collect the remainder, was 
the first to arrange the 22,793 verses into 50 runes or cantos. 
The Kalevala attracted immediate attention and has already 
been translated into most modern languages. Like most 
epics, its source is in the m3rthology and folk-lore of the 
people, and its style has been closely imitated by Longfellow 
in his Hiawatha. The latest English adaptation of this 
great epic is Baldwin's "Sampo." 

Although Russian literature is rich in folk poetry and 
epic songs, none of the latter have been written down until 
lately, with the exception of the twelfth-century Song of 
Igor's Band. The outline of this epic is that Igor, prince 
of Southern Russia, after being defeated and made pris- 
oner, effected his escape with the help of a slave. Among 
the fine passages in this work we note Nature's grief over 
the prince's capture and the lament of his faithful consort. 

It was only in the nineteenth century, after ZhukovsM 
and Batyushkoff had translated into Russian some of the 
world's great masterpieces, such as Tasso's Jerusalem De- 
livered and Homer's Odyssey, that Pushkin wrote (1820) the 
epic Ruslan and Lyudmila, drawing the materials therefor 
from Russian antiquity and from popular legends. 

There are in Russia and Siberia any number of epic 
songs or "bylinas," dating from legendary times to the 
present day, which have recently been collected by 
Kireyevski and others, £Cnd which already fill some ten 



volumes. The heroes of these songs are either personifica- 
tions of the forces of nature or favorite historical per- 
sonages. They form great cycles, one clustering for in- 
stance around Vladimir and the ancient capital of Russia, 
Kiev, another around the free city of Novgorod, and a third 
belonging to the later Moscow period. The principal hero 
of many of the Russian folk tales, and of the epic songs 
most frequently sung by wandering bards, is Ilya Muromets, 
who nobly protects widows and orphans and often displays 
his fabulous strength by reducing mighty oaks to kindling 
wood with a few blows ! 


The national epic of the Finns was rescued from oblivion 
by Topelius and Lonnrot, two physicians, who took it down 
from the mouth of the people and published it in the first 
half of the nineteenth century. It consists in 22,793 lines, 
divided into fifty runes, and is considered by a great 
German authority — Steinthal — as one of the four great 
national epics of the world. 

Not only does it relate "the ever-varying contests be- 
tween Finns and Laplanders," but that between Light and 
Darkness, Good and Evil, for in the poem the Fions per- 
sonify Light and Good, whUe the Lapps are emblems of 
Darlmess and Evil. The Sampo, which is mentioned in 
this poem, and which seems to have been some sort of a 
magic grist-mill, holds the same place in Finn mythology 
as the Golden Fleece in that of the Greeks. Many of the 
poems incorporated in this epic date back some three thou- 
sand years, and the epic itself is composed in alliterative 
verse, although it also contains rhythm of line and sound, 
as the following introductory lines prove. 

Mastered by desire impulsive. 
By a mighty inward urging, 
I am ready now for singing, 
Ready to begin the chanting 
Of our nation's ancient folk-song 


Handed down from by-gone ages. 
In my mouth the words are melting. 
From my lips the tones are gliding. 
From my tongue they wish to hasten; 
When my willing teeth are parted. 
When my ready mouth is opened, 
Songs of ancient wit and wisdom 
Hasten from me not unwilling.* 

The proem then invites all people to listen to legends of 
by-gone times and to the teachings of the wizard Waina- 
moinen, to admire the works of Ilmarinen and the doings 
of Youkahainen in the pastures of the Northland and in 
the meads of Kalevala. It adds that these runes were 
caught from the winds, the waves, and the forest branches, 
and have been preserved in the Northland ever since. 

Bune I. In the first rune we are informed that Ilmater, 
daughter of the air, weary of floating alone in space, finally 
descended to ther ocean, where she was rocked in the cradle 
of the deep seven hundred years. She made use of this 
time to create, out of the eggs of .a wild duck, the canopy 
of the heavens, and the spherical earth, with its islands, 
rocks, and continents. At the end of these seven hundred 
years, Ilmater gave birth to Wainomoinen, having waited 
all this time to be delivered of him, and having vainly 
called all living creatures to her aid. After coming into 
the world; this wonderful child floated about on the ocean 
eight years, and then drew himself up on a barren promon- 
tory to admire the sun, moon, and starry skies. 

Bune II. After Hving alone for some time on this 
promtontory or island, Wainamoinen summoned PeUer- 
woinen, "first-bom of the plains and prairies," and bade 
him scatter broadcast seeds for the trees which were destined 
to clothe both vales and hillsides. In a twinkling of an 
eye, every variety of forest growth waved its branches 
hither and thither, and, although Wainamoinen rejoiced to 
see the forest, he soon discovered that the oak, the "tree 
of heaven," was lacking in it. Because the oak still slept 

'All the quotations in this chapter are from Crawford's trans- 
lation of the " Kalevala." 


within an acorn, Wainamoinen wondered how to conjure 
it out of its hiding-place, and, after consulting five water- 
maidens, called the giant Tursus out of the depths of the 
ocean. After burning the hay the water-maidens raked 
together, this giant planted in the ashes an acorn, which 
quickly sprouted, and whence arose a tree of such mighty 
proportions that its branches hid the rays of the sun and 
blotted out the starlight. 

Terrified by what he had done, Wainamoinen wondered 
how to get rid of the oak, and implored his mother to send 
some one to help him. Immediately there rose from the 
sea a pygmy, armed in copper, whom Wainamoinen deemed 
incapable of coping with so large a tree, until the dwarf 
suddenly transformed himself into a giant of such propor- 
tions that four blows from his copper axe felled the oak, 
scattering its trunk to the east, its top to the west, its 
leaves to the south, and its branches to the north. The 
chips from the fallen oak were collected by a Northland 
maiden to make enchanted arrows for a magician, and the 
soil it overshadowed immediately began to bear vegetation 
of sundry kinds. 

Gazing at this new growth Wainamoinen discovered 
every kind of seed sprouting there save barley. Soon after 
he found seven grains of this cereal on the sea-shore and 
consulted the birds how best to plant them. They advised 
him to fell the forests, bum the branches, ajid plant the 
barley in the land thus cleared. While obeying these 
directions in the main, Wainamoinen allowed the birch to 
stand, declaring there must be some place where the cuckoo 
and the eagle could build their nests. These two birds, 
greatly pleased by this attention, watched Wainamoinen as 
he sowed his seed, and heard him chant a prayer to Ukko, 
Father of Heaven, to send down rain to help it germinate. 
This prayer was answered to such good purpose that eight 
days later Wainamoinen found a crop of barley ready to 
harvest, and heard the cuckoo's notes as it perched in the 
birch trees. 


" Therefore I have left the biroh-tree. 
Left the birch-tree only growing. 
Home for thee for joyful singing. 
Call thou here, O sweet-voicied cuckoo. 
Sing thou here from throat of velvet. 
Sing thou here with voice of silver. 
Sing the cuckoo's golden flute-notes; 
Call at morning, call at evening. 
Call within the hour of noontide, 
For the better growth of forests. 
For the ripening of the barley, 
For the richness of the Northland, 
For the joy of Kalevala." 

Bune III. In the beautiful Land of the Heroes — ^Kale- 
vala — Wainamoinen sang songs so wonderful that their 
fame spread northward to the land of the Lapps, and 
prompted Toukahainen to journey southward and challenge 
the "ancient minstrel" to a singing contest. In vain 
Toukahainen 's parents strove to dissuade him from this 
undertaking ; the bold youth harnessed his sledge and drove 
rapidly southward, colliding with Wainamoinen, who was 
also out in his sledge that day. Although "Wainamoinen 
was modest, his opponent was boastful and boldly proposed 
they show their skiU by singing. Invited to sing first, 
Wainamoinen chanted a set of commonplace axioms; but 
when Toukahainen imitated him, the ancient minstrel chal- 
lenged his guest to sing of creation or philosophy. Although 
Toukahainen now claimed he and seven other primeval 
heroes saw how the earth was fashioned, how the sky was 
arched, and how the silvery moon and golden sun were set 
in position, Wainamoinen termed him prince of liars and 
averred he was not present at the creation as he claimed. 
This contradiction so enraged Toukahainen that he offered 
to fight, but, instead of accepting this challenge, Waina- 
moinen sang a magic song of such power that it resolved 
Toukahainen 's sled and harness to their primitive compo- 
nents, and caused him to sink ever deeper into quicksands 
which finally rose to his very lips. Realizing his desperate 
plight, Toukahainen implored Wainamoinen to cease his 
enchantments, offering as a ransom for his life all manner 
of magic gifts which Wainamoinen scorned. In fact, it 


was only when the culprit promised him the hand of his 
sister Aino that the ancient minstrel reversed his spell, and 
not only released Youkahainen, but restored to him all his 

The defeated bard now returns to Lapland, and on arriv- 
ing there smashes his sledge in token of anger. His parents 
wonderingly question him, and, on learning he has promised 
his sister's hand in marriage to the magician Wainamoinen, 
they are delighted that she should marry so influential a 
man, although the maiden herself mourns because all pleas- 
ures are to be taken from her forever. 

Bune IV. While out in the forest gathering birch shoots 
for brooms, this maiden soon after is seen by Wainamoinen, 
who bids her adorn herself for her wedding, whereupon she 
petulantly casts off the ornaments she wears and returns 
home weeping without them. When her parents inquire 
what this means, Aino insists she will not marry the old 
magician, until her mother bribes her by the offer of some 
wonderful treasures, bestowed by the Daughter of the Sun 
and Moon, and which until now have been hidden in the 
depths of the earth. 

Although decked in these magnificent adornments, the 
girl wanders around the fields, wishing she were dead, for 
marriage has no attractions for her and she is not anxious 
io become an old man's bride. Stealing down to the sea- 
shore, she finally lays aside her garments and ornaments 
and swims to a neighboring rock, where she no sooner 
perches than it topples over, and she sinks to the bottom 
of the sea ! There Aino perishes, and the water is formed 
of her blood, the fish from her flesh, the willows from her 
ribs, and the sea-grass from her hair! Then all nature 
wonders how the news of her drowning shall be conveyed 
to her parents, and when the bear, wolf, and fox refuse 
to transmit so sad a message, the sea-maidens depute the 
hare, threatening to roast him unless he does their bidding. 

Learning her daughter has perished thus miserably, the 
mother of Aino recognizes that parents should not compel 
daughters to marry against their will. 


"Listen, all ye mothers, listen. 
Learn from me a tale of wisdom: 
Never urge unwilling daughters 
From the dwellings of their fathers. 
To the bridegrooms that they love not. 
Not as I, inhuman mother. 
Drove away my lovely Aino, 
Fairest daughter of the Northland." 

Her sorrow is such that three streams of tears flow from 
h3r eyes and, increasing as they flow, form cataracts, be- 
tween which rise three pinnacles of rock, whereon grow 
birches, upon which cuckoos forever chant of "love, suitors, 
and consolation!" 

Biine V. The news of Aino's death travels swiftly 
southward, and Wainamoinen, hearing that his bride has 
perished, is plunged in grief. When he seeks consolation 
from the water-maidens they bid him go out fishing. After 
angling for many a day, he finally secures a salmon, larger 
and more beautiful than any fish ever seen before. He is 
opening his knife to cut the salmon open, when it suddenly 
springs back into the deep, saying it was Aino who had come 
to join him but who now escapes in punishment for his 
cruelty. Not discouraged by this first failure, Wainamoinen 
fishes on, until the spirit of his mother bids him travel north- 
ward and seek a suitable wife among the Lapps. 

" Take for thee a life companion 
From the honest homes of Suomi, 
One of Northland's honest daughters; 
She will charm thee with her sweetness. 
Make thee happy through her goodness. 
Form perfection, manners easy. 
Every step and movement graceful, 
Full of wit and good behavior. 
Honor to thy home and kindred." 

Bune VI. Preparing for a journey northward, Waina- 
moiaen bestrides his magic steed, and galloping over the 
plains of Kalevala crosses the Blue Sea as if it were land. 
The bard Youkahainen, foreseeing his coming, lies in wait 
for him and prepares arrows to shoot him, although his 
mother warns him not to attempt anything of the kind. 


It is the third poisoned arrow from Youkahainen's bow 
which strikes Wainamoinen's horse, which immediately 
sinks to the bottom of the sea, leaving its rider to struggle 
in the water some eight years. Meantime Youkahainen 
exults because his foe is dead, although his mother insists 
her son has merely brought woe upon the earth. 

Bune VII. Instead of treading the waves, Waina- 
moinen swims about until an eagle — grateful because he 
left birch-trees for birds to perch upon — swoops down, in- 
vites him to climb upon its back, and swiftly bears him to 
the dismal northland Sariola. There Wainamoinen is dis- 
covered by the Maid of Beauty, who sends her mother, tooth- 
less Louhi, to invite him into the house, where she bounti- 
fully feeds him. Next Louhi promises to supply Waina- 
moinen with a steed to return home and to give him her 
daughter in marriage, provided he will forge for her the 
Sampo, or magic grist-mill. Although Wainamoinen can- 
not do this, he promises that his brother, the blacksmith 
Ilmarinen, shall forge it for her, and thus secures the prom- 
ise of the hand of the Maid of Beauty. This bargain made, 
Wainamoinen drives away in a sledge provided by his 
hostess, who cautions him not to look up as he travels along, 
lest misfortune befall him. 

Bune VIII. Instead of obeying these injunctions, 
Wainamoinen gazes upward on his way home, and thus 
discovers the Maid of Beauty, or Maiden of the Rainbow, 
weaving "a gold and silver air-gown." When he invites 
her to come with him, she pertly rejoins the birds have in- 
formed her a married woman's life is unenviable, for wives 
"are like dogs enchained in kennel." When Wainamoinen 
insists wives are queens, and begs her to listen to his 
wooing, she retorts when he has split a golden hair with an 
edgeless knife, has snared a bird's egg with an invisible 
snare, has peeled a sandstone, and made a whipstock from 
ice without leaving any shavings, she may consider his 

These impossible tasks are quickly accomplished by the 
wizard, but, while filling the Rainbow Maiden's last order — 


to fashion a ship out of her broken spindle — ^Wainamoinen 
accidentally cuts his knee so badly that the blood flows so 
fast no charm can stop it. In vain different remedies are 
tried, in vain Wainamoinen seeks help at sundry houses, 
the blood continues to pour out of his wound until it looks 
as if he would die. 

Bune IX. Wainamoinen finally enters a cottage where 
two girls dip up some of his blood, and where an old man 
informs him he can be healed if he will only "sing the 
origin of iron." Thereupon Wainamoinen chants that 
Ukko, Creator of Heaven, having cut air and water asunder, 
created three lovely maidens, whose milk, scattered over the 
earth, supplied iron of three different hues. He adds that 
Fire then caught Iron, and carried it off to its furnace, 
where Hmarinen discovered a way to harden it into steel 
by means of venom brought to him by the bird of Hades. 

This song finished, the old man cheeks the flow of blood, 
and sends his daughters to collect various herbs, out of which 
he manufactures a magic balsam which cures the cut im- 

Bune X and XI. Wainamoinen now hastens back to 
Kalevala and interviews his brother Hmarinen, who refuses 
to journey northward or to forge the magic Sampo. To in- 
duce the smith to do his will, Wainamoinen persuades him 
to climb a lofty fir-tree, on whose branches he claims to 
have hung the moon and the Great Bear. While Hmarinen 
is up in this tree, the wizard Wainamoinen causes a violent 
storm to blow his brother off to the Northland, where, wel- 
comed by Louhi, Hmarinen sets up his forge, and after four 
days' arduous work produces the magic sampo. 

" I will forge for thee the Sampo, 
Hammer thee the lid in colors, 
From the tips of white-swan feathers. 
From the milk of greatest virtue. 
From a single grain of barley, ^ 

From the finest wool of lambkins. 
Since I forged the arch of heaven. 
Forged the air a concave cover. 
Ere the earth had a beginning." 


The sorceress is so pleased with the Sampo— by means 
of which she daily grinds out treasure,, untold — that, after 
hiding it away safely in a mountain, she authorizes 
Ilmarinen to woo the Maid of Beauty, who assures him also 
she never will marry. Saddened by this refusal, Ilmarinen 
longs for home, whither he is wafted in Louhi's magic boat 
of copper. 

Meanwhile Wainamoinen has been building a magic boat 
in which to sail northward. He is aided in this work by 
Lemminkainen, who, seeing the Maid of Beauty, boldly kid- 
naps her. But the maiden consents to be his spouse only 
if he will promise never to fight, a pledge he readily gives 
in exchange for hers to forego ail village dances. These 
vows duly exchanged, the young couple are united, and all 
goes well as long as both scrupulously keep their promise. 

Bune XII. The time comes, however, when Lemmin- 
kainen goes fishing, and during his absence his wife secretly 
attends a village dance. When the husband returns, his 
sister informs him his bride has broken her promise, where- 
upon Lemminkainen vows it is time he too should break 
his, and, harnessing his sleigh, starts off for Lapland to 
fight. On arriving there he enters sundry houses, and 
finally meets in one of them a minstrel, whose song he 
roughly criticises. Then, seizing the man's harp, Lemmin- 
kainen chants all sorts of speUs, until ail present are under 
their influence save a blind shepherd, whom Lemminkainen 
allows to go, and who hastens down to the River of Death, 
declaring he wiU there await the singer's arrival. 

Bunes XIII and XIV. Lemminkainen now asks Louhi 
for her second daughter, whom she refuses to give him, 
declaring that after deserting her first daughter he can 
obtain her second only by catching the wild moose ranging 
in the fields of Hisi (Death), by bridling his fire^breathing 
steed, and by killing with his first arrow the great swan 
swimming on the River of Death. The first two tasks, 
although bristling with difSculties, are safely accomplished 
by Lemminkainen, but when he reaches the River of Death, 
the blind shepherd— who is lying there in wait for him — 


ruthlessly slays him, chops his body into pieces, and casts 
them into the stream. 

Bune XV. After vainly awaiting Lemminkainen's re- 
turn, his aged mother, seeing blood drip from his hair-brush, 
concludes evil must have befallen her son. She therefore 
hastens northward, and threatens to destroy Louhi's magic 
Sampo unless the sorceress will reveal what has become of 
Lemminkainen. Louhi then confesses that she sent him 
down to Hades to hunt the Death swan, so Lemminkainen 'g 
mother hastens down to the Eiver of Death, only to learn 
her son has perished. Hastening back to the blacksmith 
Ilmarinen, the frantic mother beseeches him to make her a 
rake with a handle five hundred fathoms long, and armed 
with this implement begins to dredge the river. Presently 
she fishes out one by one the garments and various frag- 
ments of her son! Thanks to powerful incantations she 
restores Lemminkainen to life, speech, and motion, where- 
upon the youth thanks her, and graphically relates how he 
came to his death. But, although he is home once more, 
Lemminkainen is always thinking of the beautiful maiden 
he wooed, and he still longs to kill the swan swimming on 
the River of Death ! 

Bunes XYI and XVII. Leaving Lemminkainen, the 
poem now relates how Wainamoinen built a boat, asking 
the God of the Forest to supply him with the necessary 
material for its different parts. When questioned, the trees 
one after another declare they are unfit for ship-building, 
until the oak proffers its strong trunk. Wainamoinen now 
constructs his vessel, but discovers he lacks three "master 
words" to finish it properly. After vainly seeking these 
words among birds and animals, he crosses the River of 
Death in a boat, only to find the magie formula is unknown 
even to the angel of Death ! The words are, however, well 
known to Wipunen, a giant of whom he goes in quest. Pry- 
ing open the monster's lips to force him to speak, Waina- 
moinen stumbles and accidentally falls into the huge maw 
and is swallowed alive. But, unwilling to remain indefi- 
nitely in the dark recesses of the giant's body, Waina- 


moinen soon sets up a forge in the entrails of the colossus, 
thus causing him such keen discomfort that the monster 
proposes to eject his guest, who flatly refuses to be dislodged 
until he learns the magic words. Having thus cleverly se- 
cured what he is seeking, Wainamoinen returns home and 
completes a boat, which proves self-propelling, and speedily 
bears him to the Northland to woo the Maiden of the 

Thus the ancient Wainamoinen 
Built the boat with magic only, 
And with magic launch^ his vessel. 
Using not the hand to touch it. 
Using not the foot to move it. 
Using not the knee to turn it. 
Using nothing to propel it. 
Thus the third task was completed. 
For the hostess of Pohyola, 
Dowry for the Maid of Beauty 
Sitting on the arch of heaven. 
On the bow of many colors. 

Bune XVIII. Wainamoinen 's departure in the magic 
vessel is noted by Ilmarinen's sister, who immediately in- 
forms her brother a suitor is starting to woo the girl he 
covets. Jumping into his sled Ilmarinen drives off, and 
both suitors approach the maiden's dwelling from differ- 
ent points at the self-same time. Seeing them draw near, 
the witch Louhi bids her daughter accept the older mam — 
because he brings a boat-load of treasures — and to refuse 
the empty-handed youth. But the daughter, who prefers 
a young bridegroom, declares that the smith who fashioned 
the incomparable Sampo cannot be an undesirable match. 
When Wainamoinen therefore lands from his ship and in- 
vites her to go sailing with him, she refuses his invitation. 
Heavy-hearted, Wainamoinen is obliged to return home 
alpne, and, on arriving there, issues the wise decree that old 
men should never woo mere girls or attempt to rival young 

Rune XIX. In his turn Ilmarinen now woos the Rain- 
bow Maiden, and is told by Louhi that ere he can claim 
his bride he must plough the serpent-field of Hades, bring 


back from that place the Tuoni-bear safely muzzled, and 
catch a monster pike swimming in the Eiver of Death. 
Helped by the Maiden of the Rainbow, Ilmarinen accom- 
plishes these three difScult feats, by first forging the plough, 
noose, and fishing eagle required. 

Bunes XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII, and XXIV. Now ex- 
tensive preparations are made for the marriage of Ilmarinen 
and the Maiden of the Rainbow. Not only is the mighty ox 
of Harjala slain and roasted, but beer is brewed for the first 
time in the Northland, and many verses are devoted to 
describe the processes by which this national drink was 
brought to its state of perfection ! When at last Ilmarinen 
appears to take away his bride, the Rainbow Maiden seems 
unwilling to go, and objects that a wife is her husband's 
slave, and has to spend all her days in pleasing him, his 
father, and his mother. Although her lament is touching 
iadeed, the bride-advisor directs her to please her new 
relatives, admonishes Ilmarinen to treat her kindly, and 
watches the two set off, the Rainbow Maiden shedding bitter 
tears at leaving her beloved home. 

Bune XXV. The bride and bridegroom are next warmly 
welcomed by Ilmarinen 's family, old Wainamoinen himself 
singing at their bridal feast, and again instructiag the 
bride to be all love and submission and to expect nothing 
save bitterness and hardship from marriage. Having con- 
eluded his song by praising the father who built the house, 
the inother who keeps it, and having blessed bridegroom 
and bride, Wainamoinen departs for the Land of the Dead, 
to borrow an auger to repair his sled, which has fallen to 
pieces while he sang. 

Bune XXVI. Meanwhile Lemminkainen, angry because 
he alone has received no invitation to the wedding banquet, 
decides, in spite of his mother's advice, to go forth and 
take his revenge. Although he has to overcome a flaming 
eagle, pass through a pit of fire, slay a wolf and a bear, and 
destroy a wall of snakes mounting guard at the entrance of 
Lapland before he can reach his destination, his spells and 
incantations safely overcome these and other dire perils. 


Bunes XXVII and XXVIII. Reaching Northland at 
last, Lemminkainen slays the husband of Louhi, from whom 
he escapes before she can attack him. His mother now 
warns him his foes will pursue him and advises him to go 
to the Isle of Refuge, situated in the centre of the Tenth 
Ocean, and abide there for three years, pledging himself 
not to fight again for sixty summers. 

BuTie XXIX. We now have a description of the Isle 
of Refuge, where Lemminkainen tarries three whole years 
with the sea-maidens, who bid him a tender farewell when 
he sails away again. He has, however, proved neglectful 
toward one of them, a Spinster, who curses him, vowing he 
will suffer many things in return for his neglect. True to 
her prediction, he encounters many dangers on the home- 
ward journey, and finds his house reduced to ashes and his 
parents gone ! But, although he mourns for them as dead, 
he soon discovers them hiding in the forest, to escape the 
fury of the Lapps. 

Bune XXX. To punish these foes Lemminkainen now 
sets out for the north, taking with him Tiera, hero of the 
broadsword, who is to help him. Aware of his coming, 
Louhi bids her son Frost stop them by holding their vessel 
fast in the ice, but Lemminkainen trudges over the ice, 
hurls the Frost-God into the fire, and, somewhat discour- 
aged, returns home. 

Bunes XXXI, XXXII, and XXXIII. During this time 
a slave, KuHerwoinen, the son of Evil, has been sold to 
Ilmarinen to serve as his shepherd. The Rainbow Maiden 
therefore sends him forth with her cattle, giving him a loaf 
of bread as sole sustenance. When the son of Evil attempts 
to cut this bread, he breaks his knife, for the housewife has 
baked a flint-stone in it. In his anger the shepherd con- 
jures up wolves and bears, which devour the cattle, and 
which he drives home in their stead after dark. When the 
Rainbow Maiden therefore unsuspectingly tries to milk 
them, she is instantly devoured by these wild beasts. 

Bunes XXXIV and XXXV. Having thus effected his 
revenge, the Spirit of Evil hurries away to his tribe-folk, 



who bid him perform sundry tasks, in the course of which 
he crowns his evil deeds by assaulting a sister who was lost 
in infancy, and whom he therefore fails to recognize. On 
discovering the identity of her ravisher, the unhappy girl 
throws herself into the river, where she perishes. 

Eune XXXVI. Forbidden by his mother to commit 
suicide in punishment for his crime, Kullerwoinen decides 
to seek death on the field of battle. Although the various 
members of his family see him depart without regret, his 
mother assures him nothing can destroy her love for her 

" Canst not fathom love maternal, 
Canst not smother her affection; 
Bitterly I'll mourn thy downfall, 
I would weep if thou shouldst perish, 
Shouldst thou leave my race forever; 
I would weep in court or cabin. 
Sprinkle all these fields with tear-drops. 
Weep great rivers to the ocean. 
Weep to melt the snows of Northland, 
Make the hillocks green with weeping. 
Weep at morning, weep at evening. 
Weep three years in bitter sorrow 
O'er the death of Kullerwoinen! " 

Kullerwoinen, armed with a magic sword, does great 
slaughter among his foes, and returns home only to find aU 
his kin have perished. While he mourns their death, his 
mother's spirit bids him follow his watch-dog — the only 
living creature left him. During this strange promenade, 
coming to the spot where he assaulted his sister, Kuller- 
woinen falls upon his magic sword and dies, an episode 
which inspires Wainamoinen with these words of wisdom: 

" If the child is not well nurtured. 
Is not rocked and led uprightly. 
Though he grow to years of manhood. 
Bear a strong and shapely body. 
He will never know discretion. 
Never eat the bread of honor. 
Never drink the cup of wisdom." 

Eune XXXVII and XXXVIII. Meantime Ilmarinen, 
after grieving three months for the loss of the Rainbow 
Maiden, proceeds to fashion himself a wife out of gold and 


silver, but, as she is lifeless and unresponsive, he offers her 
to Wainamoinen, — ^who refuses her, — ^and travels north- 
ward once more to woo a sister of his former bride. On 
arriving at Louhi 's house, — ^undeterred by many evil omens 
which have crossed his path, — ^Ilmarinen sues for a bride. 
Louhi reproaches him for the treatment her first daughter 
has undergone, but, although the second maiden refuses to 
foUow him, he boldly carries her off by force. She is, how- 
ever, so unhappy with him that the blacksmith finally 
changes her into a sea-gull. 

" I have changed the hateful virgin 
To a sea-gull on the ocean; 
Now she calls above the waters. 
Screeches from the ocean-islands. 
On the rocks she calls and murmurs. 
Vainly calling for a suitor." 

Bunes XXXIX, XL, and XLI. To comfort himself, 
Ilmarinen concludes he would like to have the Sampo, 
and persuades Wainamoinen and Lemminkainen to accom- 
pany him northward to get it. This time they sail in a 
magic ship, which is stranded on the shoulders of a huge 
pike. Wainamoinen kills this fish, and from its bones and 
sinews fashions the first harp, an instrument so wonderful 
that none but he can play it, but, whenever he touches its 
strings, trees dance about him, wild animals crouch at hia 
feet, and the hearts of men are filled with rapture. 

All of Northland stopped and listened. 

Every creature in the forest, 

All the beasts that haunt the woodlands. 

On their nimble feet came bounding, 

Came to listen to his playing, 

Came to hear his songs of joyance. 

The music which he makes is so touching that it draws 
tears even from the player's eyes, tears which drop down 
into the sea, where they are transformed into pearls, which 
are brought to him by a duck. 

Gathered Wainamoinen's tear-drops 
From the blue sea's pebbly bottom. 
From the deep, pellucid waters; 


Brought them to the great magician. 
Beautifully formed and colored. 
Glistening in the silver sunshine. 
Glimmering in the golden moonlight. 
Many-colored as the rainbow. 
Fitting ornaments for heroes, 
Jewels for the maids of beauty. 
This the origin of sea-pearls 
And the blue-duck's b^uteous plumage. 

Runes XLII and XLIII. Having lulled the Spirits of 
Evil to sleep with magic music, Wainamoinen and Ilmarinen 
go iu quest of the Sampo, which they find hidden in the 
bosom of a magic mountain and bear away in triumph. The 
spell they have laid upon aU living creatures is broken only 
when Louhi discovers her loss and sets out in pursuit of the 
robbers of her treasure. 

In various guises she attacks them, finally transf ormiag 
herself into a huge eagle and pouncing down upon the 
Sampo, which she tries to bear away in her talons. But 
Wainamoinen fights this aggressor to such good purpose 
that it drops the Sampo into the sea, where it is dashed to 
pieces ! Not only has Wainamoinen lost the Sampo, — ^whose 
fragments he collects and buries so that they may bring 
prosperity to his people, — ^but his magic harp has also fallen 
overboard during his fight with Louhi. 

Runes XLIY and XLV. Wainamoinen therefore pro- 
ceeds to construct a second harp from the wood of the 
birch, while Louhi, who has returned northward but who 
stiU owes him a grudge, sends down from the north nine 
fell diseases,— colic, pleurisy, fever, ulcer, plague, con- 
sumption, gout, sterility, and cancer, — all of which Waina- 
moinen routs by means of the vapor baths which he 

Rune XLVI. Hearing that Wainamoinen prospers in 
spite of all she can do, Louhi is so disappointed that she 
sends a magic bear to devour him and his brother. But, 
hearing this monster is coming, Wainamoinen directs the 
blacksmith to make him a wonderful spear, with which he 
slays the bear, whose skin and flesh prove a boon to his 


Bums XLYII and XLVIII. Still angry, Louhi steals 
from Wainamoinen the sun, moon, and fire, and thus all the 
hom^ in Kalevala are cold, dark, and cheerless. Gazing 
downward, Ukko, king of the heaven, wonders because he 
sees no light, and sends down a flash of lightning, which, 
after striking the earth, drops into the sea and is swallowed 
by a pike. This fiery mouthful, however, proves so un- 
comfortable, that the fish swims madly around until swal- 
lowed by another. Learning that the fire-ball is now in a 
pike, Wainamoinen fishes until he secures that greedy 
denizen of the deep. Opening Ms quarry, he seizes the 
lightning, which burns his fingers so badly that he drops it, 
until he decides to convey it to his people in the wood of 
an elm. 

Bune XLIX. Although fire is thus restored to mankind, 
the sun and the moon are still missing. Ilmarinen there- 
fore forges a magnificent silver moon and golden sun, in the 
vain hope of replacing the orbs which Louhi has stolen, 
and which are hidden in the cave where she once treasured 
the Sampo. Discovering this fact by magic means, Waina- 
moinen starts out in quest of sun and moon, and, by chang- 
ing himself into a pike to cross the river, reaches the land 
of Louhi, defeats her sons, and finds the orbs he is seeking 
guarded by a multitude of snakes. Although Wainamoinen 
slays these keepers, he cannot recover the captive sun or 
moon until Louhi, who has meantime assumed the form of 
an eagle and then of a dove, sends them back to Kalevala, 
where their return is hailed with joy. 

"Greetings to thee, Sun of fortune j 
Greetings to thee, Moon of good-luck; 
Welcome sunshine, welcome moonlight; 
Golden is the dawn of morning! 
Free art thou, Sun of silver, 
Free again, O Moon beloved. 
As the sacred cuckoo's singing. 
As the ring-dove's liquid cooing. 

"Rise, thou silver Sun, each morning. 
Source of light and life hereafter. 
Bring us daily joyful greetings. 
Fill our homes with peace and plenty. 


That our sowing, fishing, hunting. 
May be prospered by thy coming. 
Travel on thy daily journey. 
Let the Moon be ever with thee; 
Glide along thy way rejoicing, 
End thy journeyings in slumber; 
Best at evening in the ocean. 
When thy daily cares have ended. 
To the good of all thy people. 
To the pleasure of Wainola, 
To the joy of Kalevala! " 

Bime L. Meanwhile there had been dwelling in the 
Northland a happy maiden named Mariatta, who, wander- 
ing on the hillsides, once asked the cuckoo how long she 
would remain unmarried, and heard a magic voice bid her 
gather a certain berry. No sooner had she done so than the 
berry popped into her mouth, and soon after she bore a 
child, which being the offspring of a berry was to be called 
Flower. Because her mother indignantly cast her off, she 
wandered about seeking a place where she could give birth 
to her child. She was finally compelled to take refuge in 
the manger of the fiery steed of Hisi, where her infant was 
charitably warmed by the firesteed's breath. But once, 
while the mother was slumbering, the child vanished, and 
the mother vE^inly sought it until the Sun informed her she 
would find it sleeping among the reeds and rushes in Swamp- 

Mariatta, child of beauty. 
Virgin-mother of the Northland, 
Straightway seeks her babe in Swamp-land, 
Finds him in the reeds and rushes; 
Takes the young child on her bosom 
To the dwelling of her father. 

Mariatta soon discovered him there, growing in grace and 
beauty, but priests refused to baptize him because he was 
considered a wizard. When Wainamoinen sentenced the 
mother to death, the infant, although only two weeks old, 
hotly reproached him, declaring that, although guilty of 
many follies, his people have always forgiven him. Hear- 
ing this, Wainamoinen, justly rebuked, baptized the child. 


who in time grew up to be a hero and became the greatest 
warrior in the land. 

Wainamoinen, having grown feeble with passing years, 
finally built for himself a copper vessel, wherein, after sing- 
ing a farewell song, he sailed "out into the west," and 
vanished in the midst of the sunset clouds, leaving behind 
him as an inheritance to his people his wondrous songs. 

Thus the ancient Wainamoinen, 
In his copper-banded vessel. 
Left his tribe in. Kalevala, 
Sailing o'er the rolling billows. 
Sailing through the azure vapors, 
Sailing through the dusk of evening. 
Sailing to the flery sunset, 
To the higher-landed regions. 
To the lower verge of heaven; 
Quickly gained the far horizon. 
Gained the purple-colored harbor. 
There his bark he firmly anchored, 
Bested in his boat of copper; 
But he left his harp of magic. 
Left his songs and wisdom-sayings. 
To the lasting joy of Suomi. 

The poem concludes with an epilogue, wherein the bard 
declares it contains many of the folk-tales of his native 
country, and that as far as rhythm is concerned — 

"Nature was my only teacher. 
Woods and waters my instructors." 


German being talked in a large part of Switzerland and 
of Austria, theise countries claim a great share in the 
Teutonic epics, many of whose episodes are located withia 
their borders. Both the Swiss and the Austrian nations 
are formed, however, of various peoples, so while some of 
the Swiss boast of German blood and traditions, others 
are more closely related to the French or to the Italians. 
To study Swiss literature one must therefore seek its sources 
in German, French, and Italian books. It is, though, con- 
sidered very remarkable that there exists no great Swiss 
epic on the deeds of William Tell, a national hero whose 
literary fame rests almost exclusively upon folk-tales and 
upon Schiller's great drama.^ 

No political division boasts of a greater mixture of races 
and languages than the Austro-Hungarian empire, whose 
literature is therefore like a many-faceted jewel. Aside 
from many Germans, there are within the borders of the 
empire large numbers of Czechs or Bohemians, who in 
the thirteenth century delighted in translations of the 
Alexandreis, of Tristram, and of other epic poems and 
romances, and whose first printed volume in 1468 was a 
reproduction of the Trojan Cycle. 

There are also the Hungarians, whose literary language 
continued to be Latin until after the Reformation, and 
whose earliest epics treat of such themes as the "Life of 
St. Catherine of Alexandria." It was, therefore, only in 
the seventeenth century that Zrinyi, Gyongyosi, Liszti, and 
other poets began to compose Magyar epics which roused 
their countrymen to rebel against their foes, the Turks. In 
the nineteenth century patriotism was further fostered 
among this people by the stirring epics of Czuczor, Petofi 

'■ See the author's " Legends of Switzerland." 


(whose masterpiece is Janes Vilez) , and of Vorosmarty, and 
then, too, were compiled the first collections of genuine 
Hungarian folk-tales. Among these the adventures of the 
national Samson (Toldi) have served as basis for Arany'a 
modem national epic in twelve cantos. 

Part of Poland being incorporated in the Austro-Hun- 
garian empire, it cannot be amiss to mention here the fact 
that its literature is particularly rich in folk-tales, animal 
epics, apologues, religious legends, and hero tales, although 
none of the poetical versions of these works seem to be of 
sufficient weight or importance to require detailed treat- 
ment in this volume. 

With the exception of ancient Greece, — ^whose epic litera- 
ture is so rich and still exerts such an influence as to demand 
separate treatment, — there do not seem to be any epics of 
great literary value among the various races now occupying 
the Balkan Peninsula. Old Rumanian literature, written 
in the Slavic tongue, boasts a few rhymed chronicles which 
are sometimes termed epics, while modem Rumanian prides 
itself upon Joan Delaemi's locally famous Epic of the 

In Servia one discovers ancient epic songs celebrating 
the great feats of national heroes and heroines, and relating 
particularly to the country's prolonged struggle for inde- 
pendence. After translating the main works of Tasso from 
the Italian for the benefit of his countrymen, one of their 
poets — Gundulitch — composed a twenty-canto epic en- 
titled Osman, wherein he described the war between the 
Poles and Turks in 1621. The Servian dramatist Palmotitch 
later composed the Christiad, or life of Christ, and in the 
nineteenth century Milutinovitch wrote a Servian epio, 
while Mazuranie and Bogovitch penned similar poems in 
Croatian. As for the Bulgarians they do not seem to have 
any epic of note. 

Turkish literature having been successively under 
Persian, Arabic, and French influence, has no character- 
istic epics, although it possesses wonderful cycles of fairy- 


and folk-tales, — material from which, excellent epics could 
be evolved were it handled by a poet of genius. The Asiatic 
part of Turkey being occupied mainly by Arabians, who 
profess the Mohammedan religion, it is natural that the 
sayings and doings of Mohammed should form no small 
part of their literature. The most important of these col- 
lections in regard to the Prophet were made by al-Bukhari, 
Muslem, and al-Tirmidhi. 



The Book of Job ranks as "one of that group of five 
or six world poems that stand as universal expressions of 
the human spirit." For that reason it is considered the 
representative Hebrew epic, and, as it depicts the conflicts 
of a human soul, it has also been termed the "epic of the 
inner life." 

Written after the exile, — ^probably in the latter part of 
the fourth century B.C., — ^it incorporates various older 
poems, for the theme is thought to antedate the Exodus. In 
the prologue we have a description of Job, a model sheik 
of the land of Uz, whose righteousness wins such complete 
approval from God that the Almighty proudly quotes his 
servant before his assembled council as a perfect man. 
"The Adversary," Satan, now dramatically presents him- 
self, and, when taunted by God with Job's virtues, sar- 
castically retorts it is easy to be good when favored with 
continual prosperity. 

Thus challenged, and feeling sure of his subject, God 
allows Satan to do his worst and thus test the real worth of 
Job. In quick succession we now behold a once happy 
and prosperous man deprived of children, wealth, and 
health, — ^misfortunes so swift and dire that his friends in 
lengthy speeches insist he has offended God, for such trials 
as his can only be sent in punishment for grievous sins. 
The exhortations of Job's three argumentative friends, as 
well as of a later-comer, and of his wife, extend over a 
period of seven days, and cover three whole cycles; but, 
in spite of all they say. Job steadfastly refuses to curse 
God as they advise. 

Unaware of the Heavenly council or of the fact that he 
is being tested. Job, in spite of trials and friends, patiently 
reiterates "The Lord gave and the Lord hath taken away," 



and, when Ms wife bids him curse God and die, pathetically 
inquires, "What! shall we receive good at the hand of 
God, and shall we not receive evil?" 

There are, besides, whole passages in this book where Job 
gives way to his overwhelming grief, these laments being 
evidently either fragments from another, older version of 
the story, or tokens that even such fortitude as his gave 
way under pressure of disease and of his friends' in- 
judicious attempts at consolation. These laments exceed 
in pathos any other Hebrew poem, while Job 's descriptions 
of God's power and wisdom attain to a superbly exalted 

Having silenced Zopher, Eliphaz, and Bildad, by assur- 
ing them he will be vindicated in heaven, — ^if not sooner, — 
Job watches them and his last friend depart, and is finally 
left alone. Then only, and in an epilogue, we are informed 
that, having thus been tried in the furnace of affliction 
and proved true gold, Job receives from God, as reward, 
a double measure of health, wealth, and descendants, so 
that all men may know he has not sinned and that his 
unshaken faith found favor in the eyes of God. 

Some Jewish writers quote Ecclesiastes as their best 
sample of didactic epic, and others would fain rank aa 
epics the tales of Naomi and Ruth, of Esther and Ahas- 
uerus, and even the idyllic Song of Songs by Solomon. 
Early Christian writers also see in Revelations, or the 
Apocalypse, by St. John, the Seer of Patmos, a brilliant 
example of the mystical or prophetic epic. 


"The long caravan marches across the monotonous 
deserts, when the camel's steady swing bends the rider's 
body almost double, taught the Arab to sing rhymes." But 
the poems thus sung by camel-drivers are generally short 
and never reach epic might or length. None of those older 
poems now exist, and it was only when travellers applied 
the Syrian alphabet to the Arabic tongue in the sixth 
century that written records began to be kept of favorite 
compositions. Poets were then looked upon as wise men, 
or magicians, and called upon, like Balaam, in times of 
danger, to utter spells or incantations against the foe. 

The most ancient pre-Islamic poems were written in 
golden ink, suspended in the Kaaba at Mecca, and are known 
in Arabia as the "necklace of pearls." 

Many of these poems — ^which replace epics in the East 
— ^follow fixed rules, the author being bound to "begin by 
a reference to the forsaken camping grounds. Next he must 
lament, and pray his comrades to halt, while he calls up the 
memory of the dwellers who had departed in search of other 
encampments and fresh water springs. Then he begins to 
touch on love matters, bewailing the tortures to which his 
passion puts him, and thus attracting interest and attention 
to himself. He recounts his hard and toilsome journeying 
in the desert, dwells on the lean condition of his steed, which 
he lauds and describes, and finally, with the object of obtain- 
ing those proofs of generosity which were tiie bard's ex- 
pected meed and sole support, he winds up with a panegyric 
of the prince or governor in whose presence the poem is 

Throughout the Bast, professional story-tellers still 
spend their lives travelling about and entertaining audi- 
ences in towns and tents with poems and legends, many of 
the latter treating of desert feuds and battles and forming 
part of a coUeetion known as the Arab Days. 



With the founding of Bagdad by the Abbasides, Persian 
influence begins to make itself felt, not only in politics but 
in literature also, although Arabic was the sole language 
of the empire of the Caliphs. The greatest literary work 
in this literature is the famous "Arabian Nights," an 
anonymous collection of tales connected by a thread of 
narrative. Its purport is that an Eastern monarch, "to 
protect himself against the craft and iafidelity of women, 
resolves that the wife he chooses him every day shall be 
put to death before the next." Two sisters devote their 
lives to put an end to such massacres. The eldest, who be- 
comes the king's wife, begs that her sister may spend the 
last night of her life in their room. At dawn the royal 
bride entertains her sister with a story which is cleverly left 
unfinished. Such is the sultan's curiosity to hear the end, 
that the bride of a night is not slain, as usual. But as soon 
as one tale is ended another is begun, and for one thousand 
and one nights the clever narrator keeps her audience of 
two in suspense. Most of the tales told in this collection 
are obviously of Persian origin, and are contained in the 
Hasar Afsana (The Thousand Tales) which was translated 
into Arabic in the tenth century. But some authorities 
claim that these stories originated in India and were brought 
into Persia before Alexander's conquests. These tales are 
so popular that they have been translated into every civil- 
ized language and are often termed prose epics. 

Arabic also boasts a romance of chivalry entitled "Ro- 
mance of 'Antar,' " ascribed to AI Asmai (739-831), which 
contains the chief events in Arab history before the advent 
of Mahomet and is hence often termed the Arab Iliad. 

The "Romance of Beni Hilal" and that of "Abu Zaid," 
which form part of a cycle of 38 legends, are popular in 
Egypt to this day. 


This Persian epic was composed by the poet Abul Kasin 
Mansur, who sang so sweetly that his master termed him 
Pirdusi, or Singer of Paradise, by which name he is best 


known, although he is also called the "Homer of the East." 
Mahmoud, Shah of Persia, who lived about 920 B.C., de- 
cided to have the chronicles of the land put into rhyme, and 
engaged Pirdusi for this piece of work, promising him a 
thousand gold pieces for every thousand distichs he fin- 
ished. Firdusi, who had long wished to build stone embank- 
ments for the river whose overflow devastated his native 
town, begged the king to withhold payment until the work 
was done. 

At the end of liiirty-three years, when the poem was 
completed, the grand vizier, after counting its sixty-thou- 
sand couplets, concluded not to pay for it in gold, and sent 
instead sixty thousand small pieces of silver. On receiving 
so inadequate a reward, Pirdusi became so angry that, 
after distributing the money among the bearers and writing 
an insulting poem to the king, he fled first to Mazinderan 
and then to Bagdad, where he lingered until shortly before 
his death, when he returned to Tons. Tradition claims that 
the Shah, hearing he had come home, — and having mean- 
time discovered the trickery of his minister, — ^immediately 
sent Pirdusi sixty thousand pieces of gold, but that the 
money arrived only as his corpse was being lowered into the . 
tomb! As the poet's daughter indignantly refused to 
accept this tardy atonement, another relative took the 
money and built the dike which Pirdusi had longed to see. 

We know that Persian monarchs made sundry attempts 
to collect the annals of their country, but these collectidns 
were scattered at the time of the Arabian conquest, so that 
only a few documents were brought back to Persia later 
on. Although the poem of Pirdusi claims to be a complete 
history of Persia, it contains so many marvels that, were 
it not for its wonderful diction, it would not have survived, 
although he declares he has written, 

" What no tide 
Shall ever wash away, what men 
Unborn shall read o'er ocean wide."^ 

'AH the quotations in this article taken from the Shah-Nameh 
are from Champeon's translation. 


The poem opens with the description of a ruler so 
prosperous that the Spirit of Evil sent a mighty devil 
(deev) to conquer him. Thanks to the effort of this demon, 
the king's son was slain, and, as the monarch died of grief, 
it was his grandson who succeeded him. During a forty- 
centuries reign this king gave fire to his people, taught them 
irrigation and agriculture, and bestowed names on all the 

His son and successor taught mortals how to spin and 
weave, and the demons, in hopes of destroying him, im- 
parted to him the arts of reading and writing. Next came 
the famous Persian hero Jemshid, who is said to have 
reigned seven hundred years, and to have divided the 
Persian nation into four classes, — ^priests, warriors, artisans, 
and husbandmen. During his reign, which is the Age of 
Gold of Persia, the world was divided into separate parts, 
and the city of Persepolis f oimded, where two columns of 
the ruined royal palace stUl bear the name of the monarch 
who instituted the national festival of Persia (Neurouz) . 

Having accomplished all these wonderful things, Jem- 
shid became so conceited that he wished to. be worshipped, 
whereupon a neighboring volcano vomited smoke and ashes 
and innumerable snakes infested the land. Then Prince 
Zohak of Arabia was sent by the Evil Spirit to drive away 
Jemshid and to take possession of his throne. Although 
at first Zohak was very virtuous, the Evil Spirit, having 
gotten him in his power, began to serve him in guise of 
a cook. Once, having succeeded in- pleasing him, he begged 
permission as reward to kiss the king between his shoulders. 
But no sooner had this demon's lips touched the royal back 
than two black serpents sprang up there, serpents which 
could not be destroyed, and which could only be kept quiet 
by being fed with human brains. 

" If life hath any charm for thee. 
The brains of men their food must be." 


Zohak, "the Serpent King," as he is now invariably 
called, was therefore obliged to prey upon his subjects to 


satisfy the appetite of these serpents, and, as two men 
were required daily for that purpose during the next thou- 
sand years, the reabn was sorely depopulated. 

The serpents still on human brains were fed, 
And every day two youthful victims bled; 
The sword, still ready, thirsting still to strike. 
Warrior and slave were sacrificed alike. 

Naturally, all the Persians grew to loathe their monarch, 
and, when the seventeenth and last child of the blacksmith 
Kavah was seized to feed the serpents, this man rebelled, 
and, raising his leathern apron as a standard, rallied the 
Persians around him. He then informed them that, if they 
would only fight beneath "the flag of Kavah," — which is 
now the Persian ensign, — ^he would give them as king 
Feridoun, a son of Jemshid, bom during his exile. Hear- 
ing this, the rebels went in quest of Feridoun, "the 
glorious, ' ' in regard to whom Zohak has been favored with 
sundry visions, although he had been brought up in secret, 
his sole nurse being a faithful cow. When this animal died 
at last, the grateful Feridoun made a mace of one of its big 
bones, and armed with that weapon, defeated Zohak, who 
was chained to a mountain, where he was tortured by visions 
of his victims for a thousand years. Meantime Feridoun 
occupied so justly the throne of Persia — ^where he reigned 
some five hundred years— that his realm became an earthly 

At the end of this long reign, Feridoun despatched his 
three sons to Arabia in quest of wives, and on their return 
proceeded to test their mettle by meeting them in the shape 
of a dragon. While the eldest son retreated, crying that 
a wise and prudent man never strives with dragons, the 
second advanced recklessly, without thinking of protecting 
himself. The third, however, set to work in a business- 
like way, not only to rescue his foolhardy brother, but to 
slay the dragon. On perceiving this, the father resumed 
his wonted form, and announced he would divide his realm 
into three parts, of which the best share, Iran or Persia, 


was bestowed upon Trij, the son who had shown both 
courage and prudence. 

Not long after this division, the two elder brothers 
united to despoil the younger, but, although they succeeded 
in slaying him, his infant daughter was brought up by the 
aged Feridoun, and in due time gave birth to a son, Minu- 
chir, destined to avenge his grandfather's death by defeat- 
ing and slaying his great-uncles. Having done this, Minu- 
chir occupied the throne, while his favorite vassal was made 
governor of one of the newly conquered realms. This 
swarthy, dark-haired man proved perfectly happy in these 
new estates until he heard his wife had given birth to a son 
with snow-white hair. 

" No human being of this earth could give to such a monster birth, 
He must be of the demon race, though human still in form and 

If not a demon, he at least, appears a parti-colored beast." 

Such an offspring seeming nothing short of a curse, 
the father had little Zal exposed on Mt. Alborz, where he 
expected he would perish in a brief space of time. 

On the top of this mountain the Simurgh, or Bird of 
God, — a marvellous golden-feathered eagle, — ^had built a 
nest of ebony and sandal-wood, lined with spices, around 
which she had piled all manner of precious stones, whose 
glitter pleased her. Hearing the cry of a babe, this great 
bird swooped downward, and, fastening her talons in the 
child's dress, bore him safely away to her aerie, where she 
dropped him in the nest beside two eaglets. These little 
birds proved kind to the young prince, although they were 
able to leave their nest long before he could walk about 
and play with the precious stones. 

It was only when Zal was about eight years old that 
his father suddenly realized he had committed a deadly sin, 
and was correspondingly relieved to learn in a dream that 
his child had not perished, but had been nursed by the 
Simurgh. Hastening to the mountain, the father besought 
the Bird of God to give back his son, whereupon the golden- 


feathered eagle, after taking affectionate leave of little 
Zal (upon whom she bestowed a feather which was to be 
cast into the fire in time of need), bore him back to his 

" Having watched thee with fondness hy day and by night. 
And supplied all thy wants with a mother's delight. 
Oh, forget not thy nurse — still be faithful to me. 
And my heart will be ever devoted to thee." 

The father now brought up young Zal, who soon be- 
came so remarkable for strength and bravery that he 
promised to become the greatest warrior the world had 
ever known. In early manhood this youth journeyed to 
Kabul, where he beheld the lovely Rudaveh, who belonged 
to the race of the Serpent King. The arrival of a young 
but white-haired warrior caused such a sensation at court 
that the princess, who had already fallen in love with him 
on hearsay, became anxious to meet him. 

One day, when the maidens were gathering roses near 
his pavilion, Zal shot a bird, which falling in their midst 
gave them an occasion to address him. He, too, had heard 
so much about the loveliness of Rudaveh, that he questioned 
her attendants and gave them jewels to take to her. Such 
gifts quickly paved the way for an interview, for Rudaveh 
immediately sent for Zal. On appearing beneath her 
window, this lover began so sweet a serenade that the 
princess stepped out in her balcony, where, loosening her 
long black braids, — ^which hung down to the ground, — she 
bade Zal use them to climb up to her. He, however, gal- 
lantly refused, for fear he should hurt her, and deftly fling- 
ing his noose upward caught it fast in a projection, and 
thus safely reached the balcony, where this Persian Romeo 
acceptably wooed his Juliet. 

The royal parents, on discovering these clandestine 
meetings, questioned the young man, who proved his in- 
telligence by solving six riddles, and, after giving satis^ 
factory tokens of his other qualifications, was allowed to 
marry the princess, for the oracles predicted that from this 


union would arise a hero who would honor his native land. 

Time now passed happily until the moment came when 
Budaveh's life was in imminent danger. In his quandary, 
Zal flung the golden feather into the fire with so trembling 
a hand that it fell to one side so that only one edge was 
singed. This proved sufficient, however, to summon the 
faithful Simurgh, who, after rapturously caressing her 
nursling, whispered in his ear a magic word, which not 
only enabled him to save the life of his dying wife, but 
also assured his becoming the happy father of a stalwart 
son named Rustem. 

This boy, stronger and handsomer than any child yet 
bom, required no less than ten nurses, and after being 
weaned ate as much as five men ! Such being the case, he 
was able, by the time he was eight years of age, to slay a 
mad white elephant with a single stroke of his fist. Many 
similar feats were performed during the boyhood of this 
Persian Hercules, who longed to fight when the realm was 
finally invaded by the Tartar chief Afrasiab and war began 
to devastate the land. 

Loud neighed the steeds, and their resounding hoofs 
Shook the deep caverns of the earth; the dust 
Kose up in clouds and hid the azure heavens. — 
Bright beamed the swords, and in that carnage wide, 
Blood flowed like water. 

When the Persians, in their distress, implored Zal to 
meet and defeat this dreaded foe, the hero answered he 
was far too old to perform such a task, but that his son 
Rustem would fight in his stead. Before sending him forth, 
however, Zal bade Rustem select a suitable steed, and, from 
all those paraded before him, the youth picked out a rose- 
colored colt called Rakush (lightning) whom no one had 
ever been able to mount, although he was quite old enough 
to use. After lassoing and taming this wonderful steed,' — 
which obeyed him alone, — ^Rustem, armed with a mace, set 
out to meet the foe, sent hither as he knew by the evil 
spirit. Then, to oppose Afrasiab, Rustem placed Kaikobad, 
a descendant of the old royal family, on the throne, after 
driving away the foe. 


The wise Kaikobad, who reigned peacefully one hundred 
years, was, however, succeeded by a very foolish son, 
Kaikous, who, ill satisfied with the extent of his realm, 
undertook to conquer Mazinderan, which was in the hands 
of demons, but which he had coveted ever since it had been 
described by a young bard who sang : 

" And mark me, that untravelled man 
Who never saw Mazinderan 
And all the charms its bowers possess, 
Has never tasted happiness." 

On hearing his master propose such a conquest, Zal 
vainly remonstrated, but the foolish monarch set out, and 
on arriving in Mazinderan was defeated by the demons, 
who blinded him and his army and detained them prisoners. 
No sooner did the news of this calamity reach Zal, than 
he bade Rustem go rescue the foolish monarch, adding that, 
although it had taken Kaikous six months to reach his 
destination, Rustem could get there in seven days, provided 
he were willing to brave great dangers. 

Of course the hero selected the shorter route, and on the 
first day slew a wild ass, which he roasted for supper before 
lying down to rest. The odor of roast meat, however, 
attracted a lion, which would have made a meal of the 
sleeping Rustem, had not his brave steed fought with hoofs 
and teeth until he succeeded in slaying the beast of prey. 
Awakened only as the fight ended, Rustem reproved his 
horse for risking his life in this reckless way and bade him 
henceforth call for aid. 

" Oh, Rakush, why so thoughtless grown 
To fight a lion thus alone? 
For had it been thy fate to bleed 
And not thy foe, O gallant steed! 
How could thy master have conveyed 
His helm, and battle-axe, and blade,. 
Unaided to Mazinderan? 
Why didst thou fail to give the alarm. 
And save thyself from chance of harm. 
By neighing loudly .in my ear ? 
But, though thy bold heart knows no fear, 
From such unwise exploits refrain 
Nor try a lion's strength again." 


During the second day's journey, Rustem was saved from 
perishing of thirst by following a stray ram to a mountain 
stream ; and on the third night, having forbidden his horse 
to attack any foe without warning him, Rustem was twice 
awakened by the loud neighing of Rakush, who had seen an 
eighty-yard long dragon draw near. Each time he neighed, 
however, the dragon disappeared, so Rustem, seeing nought, 
reproved his horse for breaking his rest. The third time, 
however, he caught a glimpse of the dragon's fiery eyes, 
so, attacking him, he slew him, thanks to the help of his 
horse. The fourth day was signalized by other marvellous 
adventures, and on the fifth, while journeying through the 
land of magic, Rustem was met by a sorceress, who tried 
to win him by many wiles. Although he accepted the 
banquet and cup of wine she tendered, he no sooner bade 
her quaff it in the name of God, than she was forced to 
resume her fiendish form, whereupon he slew her. 

On the sixth day, Rustem, forced to ride through a land 
where the sun never shone, allowed his intelligent steed to 
guide him, and thus safely reached on the seventh a land 
of plenty and light, where he lay down to rest. There, 
while he was sleeping, the people of Mazinderan captured 
his wonderful steed. But, following the traces of his 
struggling horse, Rustem, by dint of great exertions, made 
them give back Rakush, and forced them to guide him to 
the cave where the White Demon was detaining his fellow- 
countrymen prisoners. 

In front of this cave Rustem found an array of demons, 
and, after conquering them all, forced his way into the 
Persian hell, whence he rescued his companions, whose sight 
he restored by trickling the blood of the White Demon into 
their sightless eyes. 

Having thus earned the title of "champion of the 
world," Rustem escorted the stupid king home, but this 
monarch, not satisfied with this blunder, committed one 
folly after another. We are told that he even undertook 
to fly, his special make of aeroplane being a carpet borne 
by four starving eagles, fastened to the four comers of its 


frame, and frantically striving to reach a piece of meat fixed 
temptingly above and ahead of them. 

Time and again the foolish monarch Kaikous was res- 
cued by the efforts of Rustem, who, in the course of his 
wanderings, finally came to the court of a king, whose 
daughter, loving him by hearsay, had his horse stolen from 
him. When Rustem angrily demanded the return of his 
steed, the monarch assured him he should have Rakush on 
the morrow. But that night the beautiful princess, 
Tamineh, stole into Rustem 's room, and, after waking him, 
promised he should have his horse provided he would marry 
her. Charmed by her beauty and grace, Rustem readily 
consented, and found such attractions in his bride that he 
lingered by her side for some time. 

The moment came, however, when the foolish monarch 
required Rustem 's services, and, as Tamineh was not able 
at that time to bear the long journey, Rustem bade her a 
fond farewell, leaving an onyx bracelet bearing the image 
of the Simurgh, with which he bade her deck their expected 
child. In due time the lovely princess gave birth to a 
beautiful boy, whom she called Sorab (sunshine), but, 
fearing lest Rustem should take him away to train him as 
a warrior, she sent word to him that she had given birth 
to a daughter. Girls being of minor importance in Persia, 
Rustem inquired no further about this child, and was kept 
so busy serving his monarch that he never once visited his 
wife while his son was growing up. 

For a long time Tamineh jealously guarded the secret 
of Sorab 's birth, fearing lest her young son would want to 
go forth and do battle too. But when she could no longer 
keep him home, she told him the story of her wooing : 

"Listen, my child, and you shall hear 
Of the wondrous love of a maiden dear 
For a mighty warrior, the pride of his day 
Who loved, and married, and rode away, 
For this is the romance of Rustem." 

The lad, who had always cherished a romantic admira- 
tion for Rustem, was overjoyed to learn his origin, and 


departed only after being reminded that lie must never 
fight his father, although about to help the Tartars in a 
war against Persia. Sorab was doing so because every- 
body was tired of the foolish king, who was to be over- 
thrown, so that Kustem could be placed on the throne in his 
stead. To make sure her son should not fail to recognize 
his father, Tamineh sent with him two faithful servants 
who had known Rustem well when he came to woo her. 

Meantime Afrasiab, chief of the Tartars, delighted to 
have Sorab 's aid against Persia, cautioned all his warriors 
not to tell the youth, should his father appear in the op- 
posite army, for he slyly hoped "the young lion would 
kill the old one," and felt sure that, were he only rid of 
father and son, he would be able to rule over Persia himself. 

In the course of this war young Sorab met with many 
adventures, fighting once against an Amazon, who by trick- 
ery managed to escape from him. However, Sorab kept 
hoping the time would come when he and his father would 
meet face to face, and, whenever a fray was about to take 
place, he always bade his companions scan the ranks of 
the foe to make sure that Rustem was not there.^ 

Meantime the foolish king, having gotten the worst in 
the war, had sent for Rustem, who, for reconnoitring pur- 
poses, entered the Tartar camp as a spy. There he beheld 
Sorab, and could not help admiring the young warrior, of 
whose many brave exploits he had already heard. While 
thus sneaking about the enemy's tent, Rustem was discov- 
ered by the two servants whom Tamineh had placed by 
her son's side, both of whom he killed before they could 
give the alarm. Thus, when Sorab and Rustem finally came 
face to face, there was no one at hand to point out the 
son to the father or inform the son of his close relationship 
to his antagonist. After the war had raged for some time, 
Sorab challenged the Persians to a single fight, for he was 

"It is this part of the story which Matthew Arnold has 
rendered so ably in his " Sohrab and Rustum," one of his best- 
known poems. 


anxious to distinguisli himself, knowing that should he win 
a great triumph his father would hear of it, and inquire the 
origin of the youth of whom such tales were told : 

" Come then, hear now, and grant me what I ask. 
Let the two armies rest to-day ; but I 
Will Challenge forth the bravest Persian lords 
To meet me, man to man: If I prevail, 
Eustum will surely hear it; if I fall — 
Old man, the dead need no one, claim no kin. 
Dim is the rumor of a common fight. 
Where host meets host, and many names are sunk; 
But of a single combat fame speaks clear."' 

Such was the reputation of Sorab, however, that none 
of the Persians dared encounter him, and urged Eustem 
to undertake this task himself. Fearing lest so youthful 
an opponent should withdraw if he heard the name of his 
antagonist,, or that he should pride himself too greatly on 
the honor done him, Eustem went into battle in disguise. 

On seeing a stalwart old warrior approach, Sorab felt 
strangely moved, and, running to meet him, begged to know 
his name, for he had a premonition that this was Eustem. 
The father, too, seized by a peculiar feeling of tender- 
ness for this youth, commented to himself that had he a 
male descendant he would fain have had him look like 
Sorab, and therefore tried to make Mm withdraw his chal- 
lenge. Notwithstanding Sorab 's eager inquiries, Eustem 
obstinately refused to divulge his name, and, seeing his 
opponent would not desist, bade him begin the fight with- 
out further ado. 

And then he turned and sternly spake aloud, — 
" Rise ! wherefore dost thou vainly question thus 
Of Eustum? I am here whom thou hast called 
By challenge forth; make good thy vaunt, or yield! 
Is it with Eustum only thou wouldst fight? 
Rash boy, men look on Rustvrai's face, and flee! 
For well I know, that did great Eustum stand 
Before thy face this day, and were revealed. 
There would be then no talk of fighting more." 

' All the quotations in regard to this episode are from Matthew 
Arnold's " Sohrab and Eustum." 


For three consecutive days the battle raged, father and 
son proving of equal strength and skill. But, although 
Sorab once overthrew Rustem, he generously stepped aside 
and allowed the aged warrior to recover his footing. Sev- 
eral times, also, the young man proposed that they sheathe 
their swords, for his heart continued to be attracted to his 
opponent, who, fighting down similar emotions, always 
taunted his antagonist into renewing the fight. 

He spoke; and Sohrab kindled at his taunts. 

And he too drew his sword; at once they rushed 

Together, as two eagles on one prey 

Come rushing down together from the clouds. 

One from the east, one from the west; their skulls 

Dashed with a clang together, and a din 

Eose, such as that the sinewy woodcutters 

Make often in the forest's heart at morn, 

Of hewing axes, crashing trees, — such blows 

Kustmn and Sohrab on each other hailed. 

It was only on the fifth day that Rustem, forgetting 
everything in the excitement of the moment, met his foe 
with his usual war cry, "Rustem, Rustem." The mere 
sound of so beloved a name so paralyzed Sorab, that, in- 
stead of meeting this onslaught, he sank beneath his father's 
blow. Then he gasped that, although dying, his adversary 
could not pride himself upon having fairly won the victory, 
for nothing short of his father 's name could have disarmed 
him thus! 

" But that beloved name unnerved my arm, — i 
That name, and something, I confess, in thee. 
Which troubles all my heart, and made my shield 
Fall ; and thy spear transfixed an unarmed foe. 
And now thou boastest, and insult'st my fate. 
But hear thou this, fierce man, tremble to hear: 
The mighty Rustum shall avenge my death! 
My father, whom I seek through all the world, 
He shall avenge my death, and punish thee! " 

On hearing these words, Rustem anxiously demanded expla- 
nation, only to learn that the man he had mortally wounded 
was his own son, as was only too surely proved by the 
bracelet decorated with the Simurgh which Sorab exhibited. 


It was that griffin which of old reared Zal, 

Rustum's great father, whom they left to die, 

A helpless babe, among the rocks; 

Him that kind creature found, and reared, and loved; 

Then Rustum took it for his glorious sign. 

Not only did broken-hearted Rustem hang over his dying 
son in speechless grief, but the steed Rakush wept bitter 
tears over the youth who had so longed to bestride him. 

And awe fell on both the hosts. 
When they saw Rustum's grief; and Ruksh, the horse. 
With his head bowing to the ground, and mane 
Sweeping the dust, came near, and in mute woe 
First to the one, then to the other, moved 
His head, as if inquiring what their grief 
Might mean; and from his dark compassionate eyes. 
The big warm tears rolled down and caked the sand. 

In hopes of saving his son, Rustem vainly implored the 
foolish monarch to bestow upon him a drop of some magic 
ointment he owned. But Sorab expired without this aid in 
Rustem 's arms, and the broken-hearted father burned his 
remains on a pyre. Then he conveyed to his home Sorab 's 
ashes, and sent the young hero's riderless steed back to his 
poor mother, who died of grief. 

We are told that the foolish king proved so fortunate 
as to have a noble and generous son named Siawush, of 
whom he became so jealous that the youth had to leave 
home and was brought up by Rustem. The step-mother, 
who had so poisoned his father's mind against him, plotted 
Siawush 's death as soon as he returned to court, by accus- 
ing him of making love to her. In anger the father decreed 
that Siawush should submit to the test of fire, so huge 
furnaces were lighted, through which the young man rode 
unharmed, the Angel of Pity and the spirit of his dead 
mother standing on either side of him to guard him from 
injury. Because the step-mother had wrongfully accused 
Siawush, she too was condemned to pass through the fire, 
but her step-son, knowing she could never stand such an 
ordeal, pleaded successfully in her behalf. 

Not daring to remain at his father's court, this young 


prince withdrew among the Tartars, where he married 
Afrasiab's daughter. But such were his qualities and noble 
deeds, that his wicked father-in-law became jealous enough 
of him to slay him. He did not, however, succeed in ex- 
terminating the race, for a kind-hearted nobleman, Piran- 
Wisa, secreted Siawush's little son, and entrusted him to a 
goat-herd to bring up. When Afrasiab discovered a few 
years later that this child was still living, he planned to 
put him to death, until the nobleman assured him the 
child was an idiot and would, therefore, never work him 
any harm. Only half convinced, Afrasiab sent for the 
youth, Kai-Khosrau, who, duly instructed by his protector, 
returned such crazy answers to his grandfather's questions, 
that Afrasiab felt satisfied he was an idiot indeed. 

This young prince, having attained manhood, led a 
rebellion so successfully that he not only dethroned his 
grandfather, Afrasiab, but also recovered his hereditary 
throne of Persia. There he reigned for many years, at 
the end of which he became so anxious to leave this world, 
that he prayed the good god (Ormudz) to receive him in 
his bosom. In a dream this divinity informed the king 
that, as soon as his affairs were in order and his successor 
named, his wish would be granted. Kai-Khosrau, there- 
fore, made all his arrangements, and set out on the journey 
to the next world, bidding his friends not try to accom- 
pany him, for the road would be too hard for them to 
travel. In spite of these injunctions, a few faithful fol- 
lowers went with him, until they reached a place where 
the cold was so intense that they all froze to death, and 
thus left him to continue alone the journey from whence 
he never returned. 

And not a trace was left behind, 

And not a dimple on the wave; 

All sought, but sought in vain, to find 

The spot which proved Kai-Khosrau's grave. 

The successor which Kai-Khosrau had chosen proved a 
just ruler until he became jealous of his own son, Isfendiyar, 


wlio was also a great warrior, and who, like Rustem, accom- 
plished seven great works. He, too, overcame demons, 
wolves, lions, enchanters, dragons, and unchained elements, 
and on one occasion proceeded to rescue two of his sisters, 
who were detained captives in the fortress of Arjasp, a 
demon king. Knowing he could not enter this stronghold 
by force, Isfendiyar penetrated into it in the guise of a 
merchant, having hidden in his chests a number of soldiers, 
who were to help him when the right moment came. Thanks 
to their aid and to the fact that he began by intoxicating 
his foe, Isfendiyar triumphed. 

The time came, however, when Isfendiyar was ordered 
by his father to bring Rustem to court in chains. This 
task proved most distasteful to the prince, who, on ap- 
proaching Rustem, explained that he was not a free agent. 
Because the old hero obstinately refused to be manacled, 
the two warriors began fighting, and at the end of the day 
Rustem and his steed were so severely wounded that Isfen- 
diyar felt sure they would not be able to renew the fight on 
the morrow. 

It happened, however, that the aged Zal, on seeing his 
wounded son, remembered his partly burned feather, and 
promptly cast it into the fire. Immediately the Simurgh 
appeared, and with one touch of her golden wings healed 
the horse, and used her clever beak to draw the lance out 
of Rustem 's side. Having thus healed her nursling's son, 
the Simurgh vanished, leaving Rustem and his steed in 
such good condition that they were able to renew the battle 
on the morrow. This time, Isfendiyar perished beneath 
Rustem 's blows, exclaiming that the hero was not to blame 
for his death and that he fell victim to his father's hate. 
In token of forgiveness, he begged Rustem to bring up his 
son, a wish which was piously carried out by the brave 
warrior as long as he lived. 

Because it had been written in the stars that "he who 
slew Isfendiyar would die miserably," Rustem was some- 
what prepared for his tragic fate. It seems his young half- 
brother finally became so jealous of him that he plotted to 


kill him by digging seven pits lined with swords and spears. 
These were hidden in a road along which Rustem had to 
travel when he came in the king's name to claim tribute. 
Falling into the first pit, Rustem set his spurs to Rakush's 
sides; and the brave steed, although wounded, leaped out 
of this trap, only to tumble into a second and third. From 
pit to pit Rustem and his dauntless horse landed at the 
bottom of the seventh, fainting from their many wounds. 

The treacherous step-brother now drew cautiously near 
to ascertain whether Rustem were dead, w;hereupon our 
hero begged for his bow and arrows, declaring he wished 
to ward off the wild beasts as long as he remained alive. 
The unsuspecting brother, therefore, flung the desired 
weapons down into the pit, but no sooner were they within 
reach, than Rustem fitted an arrow to the string, casting 
such a baleful look at his step-brother that this coward 
hastened to take refuge behind a tree. No obstacle could, 
however, balk the righteously angry Rustem, who sent his 
arrow straight through the trunk into his brother's heart, 
thus punishing the murderer for his dastardly trick. Then, 
returning thanks for having been allowed to avenge his 
wrongs, Rustem breathed his last beside his faithful steed. 

On hearing his son had perished, Zal sent an army to lay 
Kabul waste, and, having recovered the corpses of Rustem 
and of his steed, laid them piously to rest in a magnificent 
tomb in Seistan. 


Besides the two great classical epics (Mahakavyas) — ^the 
Mahabharata and the Ramayana — Indian literature claims 
eighteen Puranas, each of which bears a distinctive title. 
These Puranas treat mainly of "ancient legendary lore," 
and contain many tales of gods and sages, as well as de- 
scriptions of the Hindu world, with Mount Mem as its 
cientre, and also of the deluge. 

Many of the incidents of the two great epics inspired 
later poets to compose what are known as kavyas, or court 
epics. Six of these by Bahrtruhari are termed Great Court 
Epics (Mahakavyas), and another, by the poet Agvaghosha, 
describing the doings of Buddha at length, was translated 
into Chinese between 414 and 421 A.D. The Golden Age 
for the court epics (which were written from 200 B.C. to 
1100 A.D.) was during the sixth century of our era. 

In the fifth century A.D. the poet Kalidasa composed 
a nineteen-canto epic, entitled Raghuvamga, wherein he 
related at length the life of Rama, as well as of Rama's 
ancestors and of his twenty-four successors. This poem 
abounds in striking similes, as does also the same poet's 
Kumarasambhava or Birth and Wooing of the War God 
Siva. There are, however, sundry cantos in all these poems 
which are too erotic to meet with favor among modern 
readers. Kalidasa is also the author of an epic in Prakrit, 
wherein he sings of the building of the bridge between 
India and Ceylon and of the death of Ravana. 

We are told that the Ramayana inspired the greatest 
poet of Mediaeval India, Tulsi Das, to compose the Ram 
Charit Manas, an epic wherein he gives a somewhat shorter 
and very popular version of Rama 's adventures. This work 
still serves as a sort of Bible for a hundred million of the 
people of northern India. 

The poet Kaviraja (c. 800 A.D.) composed an epic 
wherein he combines the Ramayana and Mahabharata into 



one single poem. This is a Hindu tour de force, for we are 
told that "the composition is so arranged that by the use 
of ambiguous words and phrases the story of the Ramayana 
and the Mahabharata is told at one and the same time. 
The same words, according to the sense in which they are 
understood, narrate the events of each epic." 


This Hindu epic, an older poem than the Maha-bharata, 
was composed in Sanscrit some five hundred years before 
our era, and is contained in seven books, aggregating twenty- 
four thousand verses. It is often termed "the Odyssey 
of the East," and relates events which are said to have 
occurred between two thousand and nine hundred B.C. The 
poem is generally attributed to Valmiki, a hermit on the 
bank of the Ganges, who, seeing one bird of a happy pair 
slain, made use of a strange metre in relating the occur- 
rence to Brahma. This god immediately bade him employ 
the same in narrating the adventures of Rama, one of the 
seven incarnations of the god Vishnu. 

" Praise to ValmikI, bird of charming song, 
Who mounts on Poesy's subllmest spray, 
And sweetly sings with accents clear and strong 
Kama, aye Rama, in his deathless lay."* 

The poem opens with a description of the ancient city 
of Ayodhya (Oude), beautifully situated on the banks of 
a river and ruled by a childless rajah. 

In bygone ages built and planned 

By sainted Manu's princely hand, 

Imperial seat! her walls extend 

Twelve measured leagues from end to end; 

Three in width, from side to side 

With square and palace beautified. 

Her gates at even distance stand, 

Her ample roads are wisely planned. 

Right glorious is her royal street, 

^ The quotations in this chapter are taken from Griffeth's trans- 
lation and from Romesh Dutt's. 


Where streams allay her dust and heat. 

On level ground in even row 

Her houses rise in goodly show. 

Terrace and palace, arch and gate 

The queenly city decorate. 

High are her ramparts, strong and vast, 

By ways at even distance passed. 

With circling moat both deep and wide. 

And store of weapons fortifled. 

This monarch (Dasaratha), a descendant of the moon, 
was sixty thousand years old when the story begins. 
Although his reign had already extended over a period of 
nine thousand years, — during which his people had enjoyed 
such prosperity that it is known as the Age of Gold, — ^the 
king, still childless in spite of having seven hundred and 
fifty concubines, decided to offer a great horse sacrifice 
(asvatmedha) in hopes of obtaining a son, to celebrate his 
funeral rites and thereby enable him to enter heaven. 

In order to perform the ceremony properly, a horse had 
to be turned out to wander at wiU for a year, constantly 
watched by a band of priests, who prevented any one lay- 
ing a hand upon him, for, once touched, the animal was 
unfit to be offered up to the gods. This horse sacrifice hav- 
ing been duly performed, the happy rajah was informed by 
the gods that four sons would uphold his line, provided he 
and three of his wives quaffed the magia drink they gave 

Having thus granted the rajah's prayer, the lesser gods 
implored their chief Indra to rid them of the demons sent 
by Ravana, the Satan of the Hindus. This evil spirit, 
by standing on his head in the midst of five fires ten thou- 
sand years in succession, had secured from Brahma a prom- 
ise that no god, demon, or genius should slay him. By 
this extraordinary feat he had also obtained nine extra 
heads with a full complement of eyes, ears, and noses, 
hands and arms. Mindful of his promise, Brahma was at a 
loss to grant this request until he remembered he had never 
guaranteed Ravana should not be attacked by man or 
monkey. He, therefore, decided to beg Vishnu to enter the 


body of a man and conquer this terrible foe, while the 
lesser gods helped him in the guise of monkeys. 

" One only way I find 
TPo slay this fiend of evil mind. 
He prayed me once his life to guard 
Prom demon, god, and heavenly bard, 
And spirits of the earth and air. 
And I, consenting, heard his prayer. 
But the proud giant in his scorn 
Kecked not of man of woman born; 
None else may take his life away 
And only man the fiend can slay." 

At Brahma's request, Vishnu not only consented to be- 
come man, but elected to enter the body of the rajah's 
oldest son — one of the four children obtained in answer to 
prayer. Meantime he charged his fellow gods diligently 
to beget helpers for him, so they proceeded to produce in- 
numerable monkeys. The poem next informs us that Rama, 
son of the Rajah's favorite wife, being a god, — an incarna- 
tion of Vishnu, — came into the world with jeweUed crown 
and brandishing four arms, but that, at his parents ' request, 
he concealed these divine attributes, assumed a purely 
human form, and cried lustily like a babe. Two other 
wives of the rajah, having received lesser portions of the 
divine beverage, gave birth to three sons (Bharata, Laksh- 
mana, and Satrughna), and the news that four heirs had 
arrived in the palace caused great rejoicings in the realm. 

These four princes grew up in the most promising 

fashion, Rama in particular developing every virtue, and 

showing even in childhood marked ability as an archer. 

Such was his proficiency in athletic sports that a hermit 

besought him, at sixteen, to rid his forest of the demons 

which were making life miserable for him and his kin. To 

enable Rama to triumph over these foes, the hermit bestowed 

upon him divine weapons, assuring him they would never 

fail him. 

" And armed with these, beyond a doubt. 
Shall Rama put those fiends to rout." 


The hermit also heguiled the weariness of their long 
journey to the forest by relating to Rama the story of the 
Ganges, the sacred stream of India. "We are told that a 
virtuous king, being childless, betook himself to the 
Himalayas, where, after spending a hundred years in 
austerities, Brahma announced he should have one son by 
one of his wives and sixty thousand by the other, adding 
that his consorts might choose whether to bear one offspring 
or many. Given the first choice, the favorite wife elected 
to be the mother of the son destined to continue the royal 
race, while the other brought into the world a gourd, wherein 
a hermit discovered the germs of sixty thousand brave 
sons, all of whom, thanks to his care, grew up to perform 
wonders in behalf of their father and brother. 

On one occasion, a horse chosen for sacrifice having 
been stolen, the father despatched these sixty thousand 
braves in quest of it, and, as they were not able to discover 
any traces of it on earth, bade them dig down to heU. Not 
only did they obey, but continued their search until they 
struck in turn the four elephants on whose backs the Hindus 
claim our earth peacefully reposes. Here the diggers dis- 
turbed the meditations of some god, who, in his anger, 
burned them up. The poor father, anxious to purify the 
ashes of his dead sons, learned he woidd never be able to 
do so until the Ganges — a river of heaven — ^was brought 
down to earth. By dint of penance and prayer, the be- 
reaved parent induced Vishnu to permit this stream — ^which 
until then had only flowed in heaven — ^to descend to earth, 
warning the king that the river, in coming down, would 
destroy the world unless some means were found to stem 
the force of its current. Our clever rajah obviated this 
difficulty by persuading the god Siva to receive the cataract 
on the top of his head, where the sacred waters, after thread- 
ing their way through his thick locks, were divided into 
the seven streams which feed the sacred springs of India. 
Thus safely brought to earth, the Ganges penetrated to 
hell, where it purified the ashes of the sixty thousand 


martyrs, and ever since then its waters have been supposed 
to possess miractdous powers. 

For sin and stain were banished thence. 
By the sweet river's influence. 

The hermit also told how the gods procured the Water of 
Life (Amrita) by churning the ocean, saying they used 
Mount Meru as a dasher, and a huge serpent as the rope 
whereby to twirl it around. 

Led by this hermit, Rama not only slew the ravaging 
monsters, but went on to take part in a tournament, where 
King Janak offered his daughter, Sita, in marriage to any 
archer who would span a bow he had obtained from Siva. 
On arriving at the place where this test was to be made, 
Rama saw the huge bow brought forth on a chariot drawn 
by five thousand men, and, although no one else had even 
been able to raise it, took it up and bent it until it broke 
with a crack which terrified all present. By this feat 
young Rama won the hand of Sita, a beautiful princess, 
whom her father turned up from the soil while ploughing 
one day, and who is hence the Hindu personification of 

The wedding of Rama and Sita was honored by the 
presence of both kings, and Rama's three brothers were 
made as happy as he by receiving the hands of three of 
Sita's sisters, the father telling each bridegroom: 

"A faithful wife, most blest is she, 
And as thy shade will follow thee." 

When the four bridal couples returned to Oude, Rama's 
father decided to name his eldest son assistant king, and 
therefore gave orders to prepare for the ceremony. The 
mere rumor that Rama was about to be crowned aroused 
the jealousy of the king's youngest wife (Kaikeyi), who, 
instigated by an evil-minded, hunch-backed maid, sent 
for her aged spouse and reminded him how once, when he 
was ill, he had promised in return for her care to grant any 


two boons she asked. The infatuated monarch, seeing her 
grief, rashly renewed this promise, swearing to keep it by 
Kama's head. 

As some wild elephant who tries 
To soothe his consort as she lies 
Struck by the hunter's venomed dart. 
So the great king, disturbed in heart. 
Strove with soft hand and fond caress 
To soothe his darling queen's distress. 
And in his love addressed with sighs 
The lady of the lotus eyes. 

Hearing him confinn his former oath, the favorite wife 
bade him banish his heir to the forest for fourteen years 
and appoint her son as viceroy in his brother's stead. In 
vain the old king pleaded; the favorite wife insisted so 
vehemently that when morning dawned the bewildered old 
rajah sent for Rama to ask Ms advice. Although this prince 
fully expected to be crowned that day, he was far too virtu- 
ous not to perceive that a promise must be kept at any 
cost, so without a murmur he prepared to go to the forest of 
Dandaka and dwell there in hermit garb fourteen years. 

" The orders of my sire," he cried, 
"My will shall ne'er oppose: 

I follow still, whate'er betide. 

The path which duty shows." 

His first duty, however, was to return to his palace 
to inform his wife that they must part; but, on hearing 
what had occurred, Sita piteously begged to share his fate, 
although he eloquently described the hardships to which 
she would be exposed should she venture to accompany him. 
Her wifely devotion was, however, proof against all he 
could urge, for she declared with tears there was no happi- 
ness for her save at his side. 

"With thee is heaven, where'er the spot; 
Each place is hell where thou are not." 

Hearing this declaration, Rama finally consented to take 
her with him, and, bidding farewell to father and mother, 


left the eity, accompanied by his wife and favorite brother 
(Lakshman) and escorted by his mourning subjects. 

His father, broken-hearted at parting with his favorite 
son, took to his bed, which he was never to leave again, 
confiding to Rama's mother that he was being sorely 
punished for a sin of his youth. It seems that, while out 
hunting one night, hearing a gurgle by a stream, and fancy- 
ing some wild beast was there drinking, he let fly a shaft, 
which only too surely reached its goal. Startled by a 
human cry, the rajah rushed down to the river, only to 
discover that he had mortally wounded a youth who had 
come down to draw water for his blind parents. 

" Then in the dusk I heard the sound of gurgling water ; 
Quickly I took my bow, and, aiming toward the sound, shot off the 

A cry of mortal agony came from the spot, — a human voice 
Was heard, and a poor hermit's son fell pierced and bleeding in 

the stream." 

Before dying this lad implored his slayer to hasten back to 
the hermitage with water, as the old people were longing 
for a drink. On hearing footsteps, the blind parents peev- 
ishly reproached their son for tarrying, and, when the un- 
fortunate murderer tried to explain what had occurred, 
cursed him vehemently, declaring he would some day ex- 
perience the loss of a son. It was, therefore, in fulfilment 
of this curse that the old rajah died thirteen days after 
Rama's departure. 

Meantime the banished prince, riding in one of his 
father's chariots, had reached the junction of the Jumna 
and Ganges, where he spent the first night of his exile 
beneath a banyan on the banks of the sacred stream. There 
he built a raft, by means of which he crossed to the other 
side, and from there sadly watched his faithful subjects 
wending homeward. Then he plunged into the forest, 
arranging that Sita should always tread its narrow paths 
between him and his brother, to make sure no harm befall 

The Indian poet now favors us with a wonderful de- 


scription of the tropical forest, with its huge trees, brilliant 
flowers, strange birds and monkeys, all of which gives the 
reader a vivid impression of the color, beauty, perfume, 
and luxuriance of the tropics. 

On rocky heights beside the way 
And lofty trees with blossoms gay; 
And streamlets running fair and fast. 
The royal youths and Sita passed. 

The exUes, wandering thus in single file, finally arrived 
at Citra-kuta, where they joined a colony of hermits and 
built a rustic booth, where they dwelt happily for some 
time. One day the rumor of a coming host roused their 
curiosity, and Lakshman, descrying a long procession from 
the top of a high tree, excitedly warned Rama that his 
brother was probably coming to annihilate them. 

Bama, who always ascribes good motives to every one, 
now declares it is impossible this should be true, and feels 
sure his brother is coming for some affectionate purpose. 
Greeting Bharata kindly, therefore, he soon discovers his 
previsions are correct, for the young prince, after announc- 
ing his father's death, implores Rama to return and reign 
over Oude. Not only does he protest he will never sup- 
plant his senior, but reviles his mother for having compelled 
her husband to drive Rama into exile. 

Although all present unite in his entreaties, Rama, too 
virtuous to break a promise, decides to remain in the 
forest the allotted fourteen years and resume his regal state 
only at the end of that time. He adds that during his 
banishment he will live in such a fashion that his exile will 
prove a blessing to his people. 

" Many a blessing yet will spring 
From banished Eama's wanderings." 

This decided, Rama urges his brother to act meanwhile 
as vice-regent; whereupon Bharata, taking Rama's golden 
sandals, proclaims they alone shall occupy the throne be- 
neath the royal umbrella, although he consents to rale in 


his brother's name. This settled, the gorgeous procession 
slowly wends its way back to Oude, where for fourteen 
years every one does homage to Rama's golden sandals! 

Meantime life in the hermitage continues its peaceful 
course, the royal ascetics being disturbed only by the demons 
(Rakshasas) who haunt the forest and try to injure the 
hermits, simply because they are good. Sita is perfectly 
happy in this humble home because she enjoys the constant 
presence of her husband, who, taking her one day to visit 
an aged female ascetic, implores this woman to bestow a 
boon upon his faithful spouse. The old woman then and 
there endowed Sita vrith eternal youth and beauty, declar- 
ing that no matter what hardships she encounters, she will 
always be as dainty and young as at present. 

One of the female demons finally becomes so anxious to 
win Rama's love, that she disguises herself as a beautiful 
creature in hopes of fascinating him. Angry because all 
her efforts fail, she next tries to injure Sita, whereupon 
Rama, by <;uttiag off her nose and ears, forces her to 
resume her usual shape. In her anger this demon bids 
her brothers avenge her wrongs, whereupon fourteen fiends 
attack Rama, who, having slain them all, is almost imme- 
diately afterward forced to face thousands of demons. He 
defeats them single-handed, while his brother watches over 
Sita, hidden in a neighboring cave. 

Such a trifle as the massacre of twenty-one thousand of 
his fiends in three hours' time, naturally enrages Havana, 
whose abode is in Ceylon, in a golden palace which has such 
high walls that no one can peep over them. This king of 
demons, who is also called the " Courage of the Three 
Worlds," has the power of increasiag his stature until he 
can reach up to the stars with his score of arms. Owing 
to his ten heads, his appearance is terrifying, especially as 
his eyebrows are composed of live black snakes which writhe 
around continually. No sooner does his sister appear before 
him, reporting she has been mutilated by Rama, who has 
beades slain hosts of his subjects, than Ravana swears re- 


venge, adding he will first kidnap Sita, for his sister's 
description of her matchless charms has fired his 

In his golden chariot Havana, therefore, flies to the 
forest, where he bids his sister change herself into a wonder- 
ful deer, and in that shape lure Eama away, so he can 
abduct Sita. The three hermits are, therefore, calmly- 
seated before their hut when a deer darts past, exhibiting 
so unusual a pelt that Sita, fired with the desire to possess 
it, urges Bama to pursue it. To gratify this whim, Rama 
starts out to track this game, calling to his brother to mount 
guard over his wife during his absence. Lured farther 
and farther away from home, Bama finally brings down 
his quarry, which, in falling, calls for help in a voice so 
exactly like his own that his brother, hearing the despairing 
accent, is torn between the desire to rush to his rescue 
and the necessity of remaining to protect Sita. But the 
little wife, sure her husband is in danger, so vehemently 
urges her brother-in-law to leave her that he finally dashes 
off. A moment later Sita sees an old hermit dra-v near to 
ask alms. While she is entertaining this holy guest, he 
frightens her by suddenly announcing that he is Ravana, 
king of the demons. As Sita resists all his advances, Ravana, 
suddenly resuming his wonted shape,, snatches her up in his 
arms and whisks her off in his flying chariot. Notwith- 
standing the rapidity of his course, the king of the vultures, 
seeing them dart tiirough the air and hoping to rescue 
the frantic Sita, attacks Bavana, only to fall mortally 
wounded to earth. Because Sita — ^the personification of 
vegetation — ^has now been abducted by the demon, — who 
typifies winter, — ^the whole earth shows signs of mourn- 
ing, and the two brothers hurry back to the hut, their 
hearts filled with nameless apprehensions. 

Like streamlet in the winter frost. 
The gljwy of her lilies lost. 
With leahr tears the sad trees wept 
As a wild wind their branches swept. 


Mourned bird and deer; and every flower 
Drooped fainting round the lovely bower. 
The sylvan deities had fled 
The spot where all the light was dead. 

Reaching their hermitage and finding their worst fears 
justified, both brothers set out in quest of Sita, and soon 
come across the dying vulture, who reports what he has 
seen, and bids them, after burning his body, find the 
monkey king, Sugriva, who will aid them. After piously 
fulfilling the brave vulture's last wishes, Bama and his 
brother visit the monkey monarch, who reports that, as 
the demon flew over his head, Sita flung down a few of her 
ornaments, begging that they be taken to Rama. An 
alliance is now concluded between Rama and Sugriva, and, 
as each party pledges himself to help the other, Rama begins 
by slaying the brother and chief foe of the monkey king, 
who in his turn undertakes to trace Sita. 

To discover where she may be, Hanuman, the monkey 
general, sets out, and, following Sita's traces, discovers she 
has been carried to Ceylon. But, on arriving at the southern 
point of the Indian peninsula and finding some two hundred 
miles of water between him and this island, Hanuman, son 
of the god of the winds, transforms himself into a huge ape, 
and in that shape takes a flying leap from the top of Mount 
Mandara (the fabled centre of the earth) to the top of 
Mount Sabula, which overlooks the capital of Ceylon. Then, 
reconnoitring from this point, the monkey general perceives 
that Ravana's palace is so closely guarded that he can only 
steal into it in the guise of a cat. Prowling through the 
royal premises, he searches for Sita until he finally dis- 
covers her in a secluded garden, bitterly mourning for her 

In spite of the fact that she has already been some time 
in the demon's power, Ravana has not yet succeeded in 
winning her affections, and dares not force her lest he incur 
the wrath of the gods. It is evident, however, that his 
patience is worn nearly threadbare, for Hanuman over- 


hears him threaten to chop Sita to pieces unless she will 
yield to his wishes and become his wife within the next 
two months. 

" My cooks shall mince thy limbs with steel 
And serve thee for my morning meal." 

When Sita is left alone, Hanuman, in the guise of a 
tiny monkey, climbs down to her side, exhibits Eama's 
ring, which he has brought as a token, and receives from 
her in return a jewel, after he has assured her that she will 
soon be delivered. 

About to leave Ceylon to report what he has seen, it 
occurs to the monkey general to do some damage to the foe. 
In the guise of an immense baboon, he therefore destroys 
a grove of mango trees, an act of vandalism which so 
infuriates Ravana that he orders the miscreant seized and 
fire tied to his tail. But no sooner has the fire been set 
than the monkey general, suddenly transforming himself 
into a tiny ape, slips out of his bonds, and scrambling 
up on the palace roof sets it on fire as well as all the 
houses in Lanka, his flaming tail serving as a torch. 

As earth with fervent heat will glow 
When comes her final overthrow; 
From gate to gate, from court to spire. 
Proud Lanka was one blaze of fire, 
And every headland, rock, and bay 
Shone bright a hundred leagues away! 

Then, satisfied with the damage he has done, Hanuman 
hastens back to the seashore, whence by another prodigious 
leap he lands in India, to inform Rama and Sugriva (the 
monkey king) of the success of his expedition. 

A huge monkey army now sets out under Rama's guid- 
ance, but general and warriors are equally dismayed on 
reaching the sea to find an unsurmountable obstacle be- 
tween them and their goal. In answer to Rama's fervent 
prayers, however, the god of the sea, rising from the waves, 
promises that any materials cast into hia waters will be 


held in place, to form a bridge whereby they can cross to 
Ceylon. All the monkeys now bring stones and tree trunks 
which they hurl into the sea, where, thanks to the efforts 
of the Hindu architect Nala, they are welded together and 
form a magic bridge. It is by means of this causeway that 
Rama invades Ceylon, and, when Ravana hears the foe is 
approaching, he musters an army, of which the poem gives 
a wonderful description. Then begins the dire combat, 
wherein Rama and his forces finally prove victorious, and 
wherein our hero, after slaying Ravana 's son, fights with 
the demon himself, whose heads he proceeds to cut off. 
He is justly dismayed, however, to see they have the power 
of springing up again as soon as hewn, until remembering 
at last his magic bow, he makes such good use of it that 
he annihilates the demon, whose numerous wives wail as 
he falls. 

Although many of Rama's adherents have perished in 
battle, he now proceeds to call them back to life, and 
graciously receives the praise they bestow upon him for hav- 
ing rid the world of demons. 

Soft from celestial minstrels ctmie 
The sound of music and acclaim; 
Soft, fresh and cool, a rising breeze 
Brought odors from the heavenly trees; 
And, ravishing the sight and smell, 
A virondrous rain of blossoms fell; 
And voices breathed round Keghu's son, 
" Champion of gods, well done, well done." 

It is only then that Rama consents to see Sita, who, thanks 
to her gift of eternal beauty, is still so lovely that all 
present are awed. But, instead of embracing her, Rama 
coldly declares that, although he crossed the seas for her 
sake and slew her foes, she is no longer worthy to dwell in 
his sight since she has been an inmate of Ravana 's harem. 
In vain Sita urges that she has been faithful throughout. 
Rama refuses to credit her purity; so the poor little wife, 
preferring death to disgrace, begs permission to die on a 
funeral pyre. Even then her stern husband shows no signs 

From a Calcutta print 


of relenting, but allows her to enter a fierce fire, whence 
the god of the flames bears her out unharmed, and restores 
her to her husband, declaring that, as her chastity has with- 
stood this fiery test, he can receive her without compunction. 

She ceased and, fearless to the last. 
Within the flames' wild fury passed. 

By this time the prescribed fourteen years of exile are 
finished, so husband and wife set out for home, crossing 
the ocean bridge in Ravana's magic car, and flying all over 
India, of which the poet gives a wonderful panoramic de- 
scription. Rama's return to Oude is joyfully welcomed 
by his brother, who proudly shows him the golden sandals 
which have occupied the throne aU this time. 

Rama's reign proves an Age of Gold for India, but, 
although all seem happy, some doubt lingers in regard to 
the propriety of Sita's return. When a famine finally de- 
vastates the land, one of the ministers assures Rama this 
scourge is due to the fact that he has taken back a guilty 
wife. Rama, therefore, banishes the faithful Sita, who 
returns to the forest and to the protection of the hermits, 
where she gives birth to twin sons, Kusa and Lava, the 
destined singers of Valmiki's wonderful song. These 
youths are, however, brought up in the forest in total 
ignorance of their august descent. 

Tweaxty years have passed since Rama repudiated his 
wife, when he decides to offer a horse sacrifice. But, the 
steed he selects having been captured by two young men, 
Rama angrily orders them put to death. As the victims 
resist aU efforts to seize them, the king in person goes forth 
to capture them. On approaching near enough, he 
haughtily demands their names and origin, whereupon the 
youths rejoin their mother is Sita and their tutor V41miki, 
but that they do not know their father's name. These words 
reveal to Rama that he is face to. face with his own sons, 
but, although he rejoices, he stiU finds it difficult to believe 
Sita can have been faithful. He, therefore, avers that be- 


fore reinstating her she will have to undergo a second 
trial by fire; but Sita, who no longer feels any desire to 
belong to so heartless a spouse, flatly refuses to accompany 
him, until Vabniki informs her it is a wife's duty to obey. 
Still wearing the crown of eternal youth and beauty, 
Sita now appears before Rama, in whose presence she im- 
plores the earth to open and receive her, thus proving that 
she has ever been true to her marriage vows and saving 
her from further suffering. A moment later the king and 
his court see the earth heave and open, and behold the 
goddess of the earth, who, taking Sita by the hand, 
announces she is about to convey her to realms of eternal 
bliss. Then Sita and the goddess disappear, the earth 
closes once more, and the gods chant the praises of the 
faithful wife, showering flowers upon Rama, who- grovels 
on the ground in his agony. A broken-hearted man, he then 
returns to his palace with his two sons, the first to sing this 
poem, whose verses are so sacred that those who listen to a 
few of them are forgiven many sins, while those who hear 
the whole epic are sure to achieve Paradise. 

He shall be 
From every sin and blemish free: 
Whoever reads the saving strain, 
With all his kin the heavens shall gain. 

Because the poem is so sacred, its author enjoined upon 
the youths to recite it often, a task they faithfully per- 
formed as long as they lived, and which other bards have 
continued until to-day in all parts of India. 

Recite ye this heroic song 

In tranquil shades where sages throng; 

Recite it where the good resort, 

In lowly home and royal court. 

We are told besides that — 

As long as mountain ranges stand 
And rivers flow upon the earth, 
So long will this Ramayana 
Survive upon the lips of men. 


Rama is finally visited by the God of Time, wlio offers 
him the choice of remaining on earth or returning' to heaven. 
"When he wisely choses the latter alternative, Rama is bid- 
den bathe in sacred waters, and thence is translated to the 
better world. 

From this poem Tulsi Das has composed a play known 
as the " Ram Charit Manas," which serves as Bible to a 
hundred million worshippers in northern India, and is 
always played at the yearly festivals in the presence of 
countless admirers. 


The longest poem in existence is composed in Sanscrit, 
and, although begun before the Ramayana, it was completed 
only about one hundred years after. It consists of some 
two hundred and twenty thousand lines, divided into 
eighteen sections (parvans), each of which forms a large 
volume. Although the whole work has never been trans- 
lated into English verse, many portions of it have been 
reproduced both in verse and prose. 

The Hindus consider this one of their most sacred books, 
attribute its authorship to Vyasa, and claim that the read- 
ing of a small portion of it will obliterate sin, while the 
perusal of the whole will insure heavenly bliss. Its name 
signifies "the great war," and its historical kernel, — in- 
eluding one-fifth of the whole work, — consists of an account 
of an eighteen days' battle (in the thirteenth or fourteenth 
century B.C.) between rival tribes. The poem is, besides, 
a general repository of the mythological, legendary, and 
philosophical lore of the Hindus, and reached its present 
state of development only by degrees and at the en4 of sev- 
eral centuries. 

Bharata, the real founder of the principal Indian 
dynasty, is so famous a character, that the Hindus often 
designate their whole country as "the land of Bharata." 
We are told that Rajah Dushyanta, a descendant of the 
Moon, while hunting one day beheld the beautiful Sakun- 


tala, daughter of a sage, whom he persuaded to consent to 
a clandestine marriage. But, after a short time, the bride- 
groom departed, leaving his bride a ring as a pledge of 
his troth. 

Absorbed in thoughts of her absent lover, Sakuntala 
once failed to notice the approach of a sage, who cursed 
her, saying she should be forgotten by the man she loved, 
but who relenting after a while declared this curse would 
be annulled when her husband beheld his ring. 

Some time after this, on the way to rejoin her spouse 
to inform him she was about to become a mother, Sakun- 
tala, while bathing in a sacred pool, accidentally dropped 
this ring. On appearing without it before Dushyanta, he 
sternly denied all acquaintance with her and ordered her 
driven out into the jungle, where she soon gave birth to 
their son Bharata. 

The lad was about six years old when a fisherman found 
in the stomach of a fish the lost ring, which he carried to 
the rajah. On beholding this token, Dushyanta, remember- 
ing all, hastened to seek poor Sakuntala, whom he discovered 
in the jungle, watching her boy fearlessly play with Hon 
cubs. Proud of such a son, the rajah bore his family home ; 
and Bharata, after having a long reign, gave birth to 
Hastin, founder of Hastinapur, a city on the bank of the 
Ganges about sixty miles from the modem Delhi. 

A grandson of this Hastin married the Goddess of the 
Ganges, — who was doing penance on earth, — and their chil- 
dren were animated by the souls of deities condemned for a 
time to assume human form. In order to enable these fel- 
low-gods to return to heaven as soon as possible, Ganga 
undertook to drown each of her babies soon after birth, 
provided the gods would pledge themselves to endow one 
of her descendants with their strength, and would allow 
him to live, if not to perpetuate his species. 

After seeing seven of his children cast into the water 
without daring to object, the rajah, although he knew his 
goddess-wife would leave him if he found fault with any- 
thing she did, protested so vehemently against the similar 


disposal of his eighth son that his wife disappeared with 
the child. But a few years later this son, Bhishma, the 
terrible, having grown up, was restored to his father. 

To comfort himself for the loss of his first wife, the 
king now married the beautiful daughter of a fisherman, 
solemnly promising her son should succeed him, for Bhishma 
voluntarily relinquished all right to the throne and took a 
vow to remain celibate. The new wife's main attraction 
seems to have been a sweet odor, bestowed by a saint, who 
restored her virginity after she had borne him a son named 
Vyasa, the author of this poem. 

By the Rajah the fishermaid now had two sons, one of 
whom was slain at the end of a three years' fight, while the 
other began his reign under the wise regency of Bhishma. 
When it was time for his royal step-brother to marry, 
Bhishma sent him to a Bride's Choice (Swayamvara), where 
three lovely princesses were to be awarded to the victor. 
Without waiting to win them fairly, the young prince kid- 
napped all three, and, when the disappointed suitors pur- 
sued him, Bhishma held them at bay by shooting ten 
thousand arrows at once, and thus enabled his step-brother 
and brides to escape. 

Although thus provided with three royal wives, our 
prince was soon deserted by one of them and was never 
fortunate enough to have children by the two others. After 
he had died, custom required that his nearest kinsman 
should raise issue for him, so, — owing to Bhishma 's vow, — 
Vyasa, who was fabulously ugly, undertook to visit the 
two widows. One of them, catching a glimpse of him, 
bore him a blind son (Dhritarashtra) , while the other was 
so frightened that she bore a son of such pale complexion 
that he was known as Pandu, the White. 

Neither of these youths being deemed perfect enough 
to represent properly the royal race, Vyasa announced he 
would pay the widows another visit, but this time they 
hired a slave to take their place, so it was she who brought 
into the world Vidura, God of Justice. Because one prince 
was blind and the other the offspring of a slave, the third 



was set upon his throne by his uncle Bhishma, who in due 
time provided him with two lovely wives. 

With these the monarch withdrew to the Himalayas to 
spend his honeymoon, and while there proved unfortunate 
enough to wound a couple of deer who were hermits in dis- 
guise. In dying they predicted he would perish in the 
arms of one of his wives, whereupon Pandu decided to re- 
frain from all intercourse with them, graciously allowing 
them instead to bear him five sons by five different gods. 
These youth, known in the poem as the sons of Pandu, 
the Pandavs (or the Pandavas), are the main heroes of 
India. As a prediction made by an ascetic was bound to 
come true, the king, momentarily forgetting the baleful 
curse, died in the embrace of his second wife, who, in token 
of grief, was burned with his remains, this being the earliest 
mention of a suttee. 

Meantime the blind prince had married a lady to whom 
a famous ascetic had promised she should be mother to 
one hundred sons! All these came into the world at one 
birth, in the shape of a lump of flesh, which the ascetic 
divided into one hundred and one pieces, each of which was 
enclosed in a pot of rarefied butter, where these germs 
gradually developed into one hundred sons and one 

As long as Pandu sojourned in the Himalayas, the blind 
prince reigned in his stead, but when he died, his surviving 
widow brought to the capital (Hastinapur) her five divine 
sons, the Pandavs. There the blind uncle had them brought 
up with their cousins, the hundred Kurus (or Kauravas), 
with whom, however, they were never able to live in per- 
fect peace. Once, as the result of a boyish quarrel, a Kuru 
flung Bhima, one of the Pandavs, into the Ganges, where, 
instead of sinking, this hero was inoculated by serpent- 
bites with the strength of ten thousand elephants before he 
returned to his wonted place at home. 

The young princes, who had all been trained to fight 
by their tutor, Drona, and who had already given sundry 
proofs of their proficiency in arms, were finally invited by 


the blind monarch to give a public exhibition of their skill. 
The poem gives us a lengthy description of this tournament, 
expatiating on the flower-decked booths reserved for the 
principal spectators, and dilating particularly on the fact 
that the blind monarch, unable to see with his own eyes, 
made some one sit beside him to describe all that was going 

After the preliminary sacrifice offered by the tutor, the 
skill of the princes, as archers, was tested on foot, on horse- 
back, in howdahs, and in chariots; then they indulged in 
mock fights with swords and bucklers, closely watched by 
Drona, who pronounced his favorite Arjuna, the third 
Pandav, the finest athlete ever seen. 

Still the princes shook their weapons, drove the deep resounding car, 
Or on steed or tusker mounted waged the glorious mimic war! 
Mighty sword and ample huckler, ponderous mace the princes wield, 
Brightly gleam their lightning rapiers as they range the listed 

Brave and fearless is their action, and their movements quick and 

Skilled and true the thrust and parry of their weapons flaming 

bright ! 

Thereupon, from the ranks of the spectators, emerged 
. Kama, son of a charioteer, who challenged Arjuna to 
fight with him, but the prince refused on the score that 
they were not of equal rank. Still a legend assures us 
that Kama was a child of the Sun-god, set afloat by his 
mother on the river Jumna, whence this Hindu Moses, 
floating down into the Ganges, was rescued and brought 
up by the charioteer, his reputed father. Meantime the 
four Pandav brothers were greatly elated by the eulogy 
bestowed upon their brother, but their jealous cousins be- 
came so enraged that, when the time came for the youths 
to face each other in club exercises, the sham battle degen- 
erated into an earnest fight. 

'The long line quotations are from the translation of Romesh 
Ihitt, those in short lines from Griffeth's. 


With ponderous mace they waged the daring fight. 
As for a tender mate two rival elephants 
Engage in frantic fury, so the youths 
Encountered, and amidst the rapid sphere 
Of fire their whirling weapons clashing wove 
Their persons vanished from the anxious eye. 
Still more and more incensed their combat greiw. 
And life hung doubtful on the desperate conflict; 
With awe the crowd beheld the fierce encounter 
And amidst hope and fear suspended tossed. 
Like ocean shaken by conflicting winds. 

Seeing this, tlie horrified tutor separated the contestants, 
whom he soon after sent off separately to war against a 
neighboring rajah. In this conflict the one hundred Kurus 
were badly worsted, while the five Pandavs scared a 
brilliant triumph. They also subdued sundry other kings, 
thereby so rousing the jealous hatred of their uncle and 
cousins that these finally began to plot their death. The 
five Pandavs and their mother were therefore invited to 
a feast in a neighboring city (Allahabad), where the 
Kurus arranged they should be burned alive in their booth. 
But, duly warned by the God of Justice, the Pandavs had 
an underground passage dug from their hut to the forest, 
by means of which they escaped, little suspecting that a 
beggar woman and her five children — ^who had sought 
refuge in the empty hut — ^would be burned to death there 
in their stead. 

Disguised as Brahmans, the five brothers and their 
mother now dwelt for a time in the jungle, where they 
proceeded to slay some demons, to marry others, and to 
perform sundry astounding feats of strength. We are told, 
for instance, that whenever the mother and brothers were 
tired, the strongest of the Pandavs, Bhima, carried thran 
all with the utmost ease. 

While in the jungle they were visited by their grand- 
father Vyasa, who bade thsm attend the Bride's Choice 
of Draupadi, daughter of a neighboring king, who — 
Minerva-like — came into the world full grown. 

Human mother never bor« her, human bosom never fed, 
From the altar sprang the maiden who some prince will wed ! 


She was so beautiful that her father decided the suitor 
she favored would have to prove himself worthy of her by 
spanning a bow which no one as yet had been able to bend, 
and by sending an arrow through a rapidly revolving wheel 
into the eye of a gold fish stationed beyond it. 

Owing to the extreme loveliness of Draupadi, many 
rajahs flocked to the tournament to compete for her hand, 
and the five Pandavs betook themselves thither in Brahman 
garb. After the preliminary exercises, the beautiful prin- 
cess — to whom all her suitors had been duly named — gave 
the signal for the contest to begin. The mere sight of 
the huge bow proved enough to decide several of the con- 
testants to withdraw, but a few determined to risk all in 
hopes of obtaining Draupadi 's hand. No man, however, 
proved able to bend the bow until Arjuna stepped forward, 
begging permission to try his luck. "While the rajahs were 
protesting that no Brahman should compete, this Pandav 
spanned the bow and sent five successive shafts straight to 
the goal, amid the loud aeelamations of aU present. 

He grasped the ponderous weapon In his hand 
And with one vigorous eflfort braced the string. 
Quickly the shafts were aimed and swiftly they ilew; 
The mark fell pierced; a shout of victory 
Bang through the vast arena; from the sky 
Garlands of flowers crowned the hero's head. 
Ten thousand fluttering scarfs waved in the air. 
And drum and trumpet sounded forth his triumph. 

The beautiful princess, captivated by the goodly ap- 
pearance of this suitor, immediately hung around his neck 
the crown of flowers, although the defeated rajahs mut- 
tered a mere Brahman should not aspire to the hand of a 
princess. In fact, had not his four brothers, aided by 
Krishna (a divine suitor), stood beside him, and had not 
the king insisted there should be no fracas, the young winner 
might have had a hard time. Then, as the princess seemed 
perfectly willing, the wedding was celebrated, and the five 
brothers returned to the humble hut where they lived on 
alms, calling out to their mother that they had won a prize! 


On hearing these tidings, the mother — ^without knowing 
what the prize was — rejoined, "Share it among you," an 
injunction which settled for good and all that Draupadi 
should he common wife to aU five. But the legend adds that 
this came to pass mainly hecause the maiden had prayed 
five times for a husband, and that the gods were answering 
each of her prayers separately! 

Shortly after this fivefold marriage, — which assured the 
Pandavs a royal ally, — Bhishma persuaded the blind rajah 
—who had meantime discovered his nephews were not dead 
— ^to give them one half of his realm. Taking up their 
abode there, the Pandavs built the city of Indraprastha 
(Delhi) on the banks of the Jumna, before they decided 
that the eldest among them (Tudhishthira) should be king, 
the others humbly serving as his escort wherever he went. 

One day this eldest Pandav went to visit the eldest 
Kuru, a proficient gambler, with whom he played until he 
had lost realm, brothers, wife, and freedom! But, when 
the victor undertook to take forcible- possession of the fair 
Draupadi, and publicly stripped her of her garments, the 
gods, in pity, supplied her with one layer of vesture after 
another, so that the brutal Kuru was not able to shame 
her as he wished. Furious to see the treatment their com- 
mon wife was undergoing at the victor's hands, the five 
Pandavs made grim threats, and raised such a protest that 
the blind uncle, interfering, sent them off to the forest 
with their wife for twelve years. He also decreed that, 
during the thirteenth, all must serve in some menial 
capacity, with the proviso that, if discovered by their 
cousins, they should never regain their realm. 

" 'Tis no fault of thine, fair princess ! fallen to this servile state, 
Wife and son rule not their actions, others rule their hapless fate! 
Thy Yudhishthir sold his birthright, sold thee at the impious 

And the wife falls with the husband, and her duty — ^to obey! " 

During the twelve years which the Pandavs spent in 
the forest, with the beautiful and faithful Draupadi (who 
was once carried away by a demon but rescued by one of 


her spouses), they met with sundry adventures. Not 
only did they clear the jungle, rescue from cannibals the 
jealous cousins who came to humiliate them, and perform 
other astounding feats, but they were entertained by tales 
told by Vyasa, among which are a quaint account of the 
Deluge, of the descent of the Ganges, a recitation of the 
Ramayana, and the romance of Nala and of Savitri, of 
which brief sketches are given at the end of this article. 
All this material is contained in the "Forest Book," the 
third and longest parvan of the Mahabharata, wherein we 
also find a curious account of Arjuna's voluntary exile 
because he entered into Draupadi's presence when one of 
his brothers was with her ! To atone for this crime, Arjuna 
underwent a series of austerities on the Himalayas, in re- 
ward for which his father Indra took him up to heaven, 
whence he brought back sundry weapons, among which we 
note Siva's miraculous bow. 

Meantime his four brothers and Draupadi had under- 
taken pious pilgrimages to all the sacred waters of India, 
and had learned sundry useful trades and arts, before they, 
too, visited the Himalayas. There Arjuna joined them in 
Indra 's chariot, and led them to the top of a mountain, 
whence they beheld the glittering palace of Kuvera, God 
of Wealth. 

After the twelve years' sojourn in the jungle were ended, 
the Pandavs, thanks to divine aid, entered the service of a 
neighboring king as teachers of dice and music, as charioteer, 
cook, cow-herd, and maid. There the five men and their 
wife remained for a whole year, without being discovered 
by their enemies, and, toward the end of their sojourn, 
rendered so signal a service to their master that he offered 
his daughter in marriage to Arjuna. Although this prince 
virtuously refused to accept her for himself, he bestowed 
her upon a son begotten during his exile when he indulged 
in sundry romantic adventures. 

Having completed their penance, the Pandavs returned 
home, to demand pf the Kurus the surrender of their realm. 


As these greedy cousins refused to relinquish their author- 
ity, both parties prepared for war. Seeing the Kurus had 
ten allies, the Pandavs became anxious to secure some too. 
The most powerful person in the region being the rajah 
Krishna, one of the Kurus hastened to his palace to be- 
speak his aid, and, finding him asleep, seated himself at 
the head of the bed. A moment later one of the Pandavs 
arrived, and modestly placed himself at the foot of the 
sleeping monarch's couch. On awakening, Krishna, of 
course, saw the Pandav first, but, after listening impartially 
to both petitioners, informed them that one party should 
have the benefit of his advice and the other the aid of his 
one hundred million soldiers. The greedy Kuru imme- 
diately bespoke the use of the army, while the Pandav was 
only too glad to secure the advice of Krishna (an embodi- 
ment of all the gods), who throughout the war acted as 
Arjuna's charioteer. 

All preparations finished, the Great War (Maha- 
bharata) began, the two families pitted against each other 
meeting on the plain of Kurukshetra (the modem Pani- 
pat) where the battle was fought. After many speeches, 
and after erecting fortifications which bristled with de- 
fences and were liberally stocked with jars of scorpions, 
hot oil, and missiles, the two parties drew up rules of 
battle, which neither was to infringe under penalty of in- 
curring the world's execration. 

Even nature now showed by unmistakable signs that a 
terrible conflict was about to take place, and when the two 
armies — which the Hindus claim numbered several billion 
men — came face to face, Krishna delayed the fight long 
enough to recite with Arjuna a dialogue of eighteen cantos 
called the Bhagavad-gita, or Divine Song, which contains a 
complete system of Indian religious philosophy. 

The Pandavs, having besought the aid of the monkeys, 
were informed they would derive great benefit by bearing 
a monkey banner, so it was armed with this standard that 
they marched on to victory. 


The sons of Fandu marked the coming storm 
And swift arrayed their force. The chief divine 
And Arjuna at the king's request 
Raised in the van the ape-emblazoned banner. 
The host's conducting ster, the guiding light 
That cheered the bravest heart, and as it swept 
The air, it warmed each breast with martial fires. 

Throughout the war the Pamdav forces were directed 
by the same general, but their opponents had four. A 
moment after the first collision, the sky was filled with 
whistling arrows, while the air resounded with the neigh- 
ing of horses and the roaring of elephants ; the plain shook, 
and clouds of dust, dimming the light of the sun, formed 
a heavy pall, beneath which Pandavs and Kurus struggled 
in deadly fight. This frightful conflict lasted eighteen 
days, the battle always stopping at sunset, to enable the 
combatants to recover their strength. 

And ever and anon the thunder roared. 
And angry lightnings flashed across the gloom. 
Or blazing meteors fearful shot to earth. 
Regardless of these awful signs, the chiefs 
Pressed on to mutual slaughter, and the peal 
Of shouting hosts commingling shook the world. 

The Kurus' general, Bhishma, fell on the tenth day, — 
after a terrible fight with Arjuna, — ^riddled with so many 
arrows that his body could not touch the ground. Although 
mortally wounded, he lay in this state, his head supported 
by three arrows, for fifty-eight days, and was thus able to 
bestow good advice on those who came to consult him. 

Darker grew the gloomy midnight, and the princes went their way; 
On his bed of pointed arrows, Bhishma lone and dying lay. 

He was succeeded as leader of the Kurus by the tutor 
Drona, who during his five days' generalship proved almost 
invincible. But, some one suggesting that his courage would 
evaporate should he hear his son was dead, a cry arose in 
the Pandav ranks that Aswathaman had perished ! Unable 
to credit this news, Drona called to the eldest Pandav — 


who was strictly truthful — to know whether it was so, and 
heard him rejoin it was true in regard to the elephant by 
that name, but not of the man. 

Said Yudhishthir : " Lordly tusker, Aswa-thaman named, is dead ; " 
Drona heard but half the accents, feebly dropped his sinking head! 

The poor father, who heard only a small part of the 
sentence — ^the remainder being drowned by the sound of 
the trumpets — ^lost all courage, and allowed himself to be 
slain without further resistance. 

The whole poem bristles with thrilling hand-to-hand 
conflicts, the three greatest during the eighteen days' battle 
being between Kama and the eldest Pandav, between the 
eldest Kuru and Bhima, and between Kama and Arjuna. 
During the first sixteen days of battle, countless men were 
slain, including Arjuna 's son by one of his many wives. 
Although the fighting had hitherto invariably ceased at 
sunset, darkness on the seventeenth day failed to check the 
fury of the fighters, so when the moon refused to afford 
them light they kindled torches in order to find each other. 
It was therefore midnight before the exhausted combatants 
dropped down on the battle-field, pillowing their heads on 
their horses and elephants to snatch a brief rest so as to 
be able to renew the war of extermination on the morrow. 

On the eighteenth day — the last of the Great War — ^the 
soil showed red with blood and was so thickly strewn with 
corpses that there was no room to move. Although the 
Kurus again charged boldly, all but three were slain by 
the enemies' golden maces. In fact, the fight of the day 
proved so fierce that only eleven men remained alive of 
the billions which, according to the poem, took part in 
the fight. But during that night the three remaining Kurus 
stole into the Pandav camp, killed the five sons which 
Draupadi had born to her five husbands, carried off their 
heads, and laid them at the feet of the mortally wounded 
eldest Kuru, who fancied at first his cousins had been slain, 


The battle ending from sheer lack of combatants, the 
eldest Pandav ordered solemn funeral rites, which are duly 
described in the poem. 

Pious rites are due to foemen and to friends and kinsmen slain. 
None shall lack a fitting funeral, none shall perish on the plain. 

Then, no one being there to dispute it, he took possession 
of the realm, always dutifully according precedence to his 
blind uncle, who deeply mourned his fallen sons. 

Wishing to govern wisely, the eldest Pandav sought the 
wounded general, Bhishma, — who still lay on his arrowy bed 
in the battle-field, — aad who, having given him rules for 
wise government, breathed his last in the presence of this 
Pandav, who saw his spirit rise from his divided skull and 
mount to the ski^ "like a bright star." The body was 
then covered with flowers and borne down to the Ganges, 
where, after it had been purified by the sacred waters, it 
was duly burned. 

The new king's mind was, however, so continually 
haunted by the horrors of the great battle-field that, hoping 
to find relief, he decided to perform a horse sacrifice. Many 
chapters of the poem are taken up in relating the twelve 
adventures of this steed, which was accompanied every- 
where by Arjuna, who had to wage many a fight to retain 
possession of the sacred animal and prevent any hand being 
laid upon him. Then we have a full description of the 
seventeen ceremonies pertaining to this strange rite. 

Victor of a hundred battles, Arjun bent his homeward way. 
Following still the sacred charger free to wander as it may. 
Strolling minstrels to Yudhishthir spake of the returning steed, 
Spake of Arjun wending homeward with the victor's qrown of 

Next we learn that the blind king, still mourning the 
death of his sons, retired to the bank of the Ganges, where 
he and his wife spent their last years listening to the 
monotonous ripple of the sacred waters. Fifteen years 
after the great battle, the five Pandavs and Draupadi came 


to visit him, and, after sitting for a while on the banks 
of the sacred stream, bathed in its waters as Vyasa ad- 
vised them. While doing so they saw the wraiths of all 
their kinsmen slain in the Great Battle rise from the 
boiling waters, and passed the night in conversation with 
them, although these spirits vanished at dawn into thin air. 
But the widows of the slain then obtained permission to 
drown themselves in the Ganges, in order to join their be- 
loved husbands beyond the tomb. 

These and other mighty warriors, in the earthly battle slain, 
By their valor and their virtue walk the bright ethereal plain ! 
They have cast their mortal bodies, crossed the radiant gate of 

For to win celestial mansions nnto mortals it is given ! 
Let them strive by kindly action, gentle speech, endurance long. 
Brighter life and holier future unto sons of men belong ! " 

Then the Pandav brothers and their wife took leave of 
the blind king, whom they were destined never to see again, 
for some two years later a terrible jungle fire consumed 
both cottage and inmates. This death was viewed by the 
Pandavs as a bad omen, as was also the destruction of 
Krishna's capital because his people drank too much wine. 
Krishna himself was slain by accident, while a hurricane 
or tidal wave sweeping over the "city of Drunkenness" 
wiped it off the face of the earth. 

Having found life a tragedy of sorrow, the eldest 
Pandav, after reining thirty-six years, decided to abdicate 
in favor of Arjuna's grandson, and to start on a pilgrimage 
for Mount Meru, or Indra's heaven. As the Hindu universe 
consists of seven concentric rings, each of which is sepa- 
rated by a liquid firom the next continent, he had to cross 
successive oceans of salt water, sugar-cane juice, wine, 
clarified butter, curdled milk, sweet milk, and fresh water. 
In the very centre of these alternate rings of land and 
liquid rises Mount Meru to a height of sixty-four thousand 
miles, crowned by the Hindu heaven, toward which the 
Pandav was to wend his way. But, although all their sub- 


jects would fain have gone with them, the five brothers, 
Draupadi, and a faithful dog set out alone in single fil&, "to 
accomplish their union with the infinite." 

Then the high-minded sons of Pandu and the noble Draupadi 
Roamed onward, fasting, with their faces toward the east; their 

Yearning for union with the Infinite, bent on abandonment 
Of worldly things. 

And by degrees they reached the briny sea; 

They reached the northern r^ion and beheld with heaven-aspiring 

The mighty mountain Himavat. Beyond its lofty peak they passed 
Toward a sea of sand, and saw at last the rocky Meru, king 
Of mountains. As with eager steps they hastened on, their souls 

On union with the Eternal, Draupadi lost hold of her high hope. 
And faltering fell upon the earth. 

— Edwin Arnold. 

Thus during this toilsome journey, one by one fell, never 
to rise again, until presently only two of the brothers and 
the dog were left. The eldest Pandav, who had marched 
on without heeding the rest, now explained to his com- 
panion how Draupadi sinned through excessive love for 
her husbands, and that his fallen brothers were victims of 
pride, vanity, and falsehood. He further predicted that 
the speaker himself would fall, owing to selfishness, a pre- 
diction which was soon verified, leaving the eld«st Pandav 
alone with his dog. 

On arriving, Indra bade this hero enter heaven, assur- 
ing him the other spirits had preceded him thither, but 
warning him that he alone could be admitted there ia bodily 
form. "When the Pandav begged that his dog might enter 
too, Indra indignantly rejoined that heaven was no place 
for animals, and inquired why the Pandav made more fuss 
about a four-legged companion than about his wdfe and 
brothers. Thereupon the Pandav returned he had no power 
to bring the others back to life, but considered it cowardly 
to abandon a faithful living creature. The dbg, listening 


intently to this dialogue, now resumed his proper form, — 
for it seems he was the king's father in a former birth, — 
and, having become human once more, he too was allowed 
to enter Paradise. 

Straight as he spoke, brightly great Indra smiled, 
Vanished the hound, and in its stead stood there. 
The lord of death and justice, Dharma's self. 

— Edwin Arnold. 

Beneath a golden canopy, seated on jewelled thrones, 
the Pandav found his blind uncle and cousins, but failed 
to discern any trace of his brothers or Draupadi. He, there- 
fore, refusing to remain, begged Indra 's permission to 
share their fate in hell; so a radiant messenger was sent 
to guide him along a road paved with upturned razor edges, 
which passed through a dense forest whose leaves were 
thorns and swords. Along this frightful road the Pandav 
toiled, with cut and mangled feet, until he reached the 
place of burning, where he beheld Draupadi and his brothers 
writhing in the flames. Unable to rescue them, the Rajah 
determined to share their fate, so bade his heavenly guide 
return to Paradise without him. This, however, proved 
the last test to which his great heart was to be subjected, 
for no sooner had he expressed a generous determination 
to share his kinsmen's lot, than he was told to bathe in the 
Ganges and all would be well. He had no sooner done so 
than the heavens opened above him, allowing him to per- 
ceive, amid undying flowers, the fair Draupadi and his four 
brothers, who, thanks to his unselfishness, had been rescued 
from hell. 

The grandson of Arjuna reigned at Hastinapur until 
he died of a snake-bite, and his son instituted snake sacri- 
fices, where this epic was recited by a bard who learned it 
from the mouth of Vyasa. There is also a continuation of 
the poem in three sections called the Harivamga, which 
relates that Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, and de- 
scribes his exploits and the future doom of the world. 



The detached stories in the Mahabharata are a quaint 
account of the Deluge, where we learn that an ascetic stood 
for ten thousand years on one leg, before a small fish im- 
plored him to save him from the big ones in the stream. 
This ascetic placed the petitioner first in an earthen vessel 
of water, then in a tank, then in the Ganges, ' ' the favorite 
spouse of the ocean," and finally in the sea, for this fish 
rapidly outgrew each receptacle. On reaching the ocean, 
the fish informed the ascetic, loith a smile, that the disso- 
lution of the earth was near. He also bade him build an 
ark provided with a long rope, told him to enter in it with 
seven other sages and seeds of every kind, and promised to 
appear as a homed fish to save him from destruction. When 
the flood came, the horned fish, seizing the rope, dragged 
the ark to the top of the Himalayas, where it rested 
securely. There it declared, " I am Brahma who saved 
you," and directed the ascetic, aided by his learned com- 
panions, to recreate everything by means of the seeds. 


The romantic story of Nala and Damayanti was told to 
comfort the eldest Pandav for losing all he had while dicing. 
It seems that once, while hunting, Nala released a golden 
bird, because it promised to win for him the affections of 
Princess Damayanti. Pleased with this prospect, Nala 
let the bird go, and watched it fly in the direction of 
Damayanti 's palace. There the bird, caught by the prin- 
cess, praised Nala so eloquently that Damayanti fell in 
love with him, and, in order to meet him, announced she 
was about to hold a Bride's Choice. On his way to this 
tournament, Nala met four gods, all anxious to marry the 
beautiful princess, and they, after obtaining his promise to 
execute their wishes, bade him steal unseen into the palace 
and bid the princess choose one of them as a spouse. 

The broken-hearted Nala, forced to sue for the gods, 


made known their request to Damayanti, who declared she 
didn't intend to marry any one but himself, as she meant 
to annoimce publicly at the Bride's Choice on the morrow. 

"Yet I see a way of refuge — ^"tis a blameless way, O king; 
Whence no sin to thee, O rajah, — ^may by any chance arise. 
Thou, O noblest of all' mortals — and the gods by Indra led, 
Come and enter in together — ^where the Swayembara meets; 
Then will I, before the presence— of the guardians of the world. 
Name thee, lord of men! my husband — ^nor to thee may blame 

She was, however, sorely embarrassed on arriving there, 
to find five Nalas before her, for each of the gods had 
assumed the form of the young prince after the latter had 
reported what Damayanti had said. Unable to distinguish 
between the gods and her lover, Damayanti prayed so fer- 
vently that she was able to discern that four of her suitors 
gazed at her with unwinking eyes, exuded no perspiration, 
and east no shadow, while the fifth betrayed all these in- 
fallible signs of mortality. She, therefore, selected the real 
Nala, upon whom the four gods bestowed invaluable gifts, 
including absolute control over fire and water. 

The young couple were perfectly happy for some time, 
although a wicked demon (Kali) — ^who had arrived too late 
at the Bride's Choice — ^was determined to trouble their bliss. 
He therefore watched husband and wife in hopes of finding 
an opportunity to injure them, but it was only in the twelfth 
year of their marriage that Nala omitted the wonted ablu- 
tions before saying his prayers. This enabled the demon to 
enter his heart and inspire him with such a passion for 
gambling that he soon lost all he possessed. 

His wife, seeing her remonstrances vain, finally ordered 
a charioteer to convey her children to her father's, and they 
had barely gone when Nala came out of the gambling hall, 
having nothing left but a garment apiece for himself and 
his wife. So the faithful Damayanti followed him out of 
the city into the forest, the winner having proclaimed that 
no help should be given to the exiled king or queen. Almost 
starving, Nala, hoping to catch some birds which alighted 


near him, flung over them as a net his only garment. These 
birds, having been sent by the demon to rob him of his last 
possession, flew away with the cloth, calling out to him that 
they were winged dice sent by Kali. 

Over them hia single garment — ^spreading light, he wrapped them 

round : 
Up that single garment bearing — to the air they sprang away; 
And the birds above him hovering — ^thus in human accents spake, 
Naked as they saw him standing — on the earth, and sad, and lone: 
"Lo, we are the dice, to spoil thee — thus descended, foolish king! 
While thou hadst a single garment — all our joy was incomplete." 

Husband and wife now wander on, until one night 
Nala, arising softly, cut his wife's sole garment in two, 
and, wrapping himself in part of it, forsook her during 
her sleep, persuading himself that if left alone she would 
return to her father and enjoy comfort. The poem gives a 
touching description of the husband's grief at parting with 
his sleeping wife, of her frenzy on awakening, and of her 
pathetic appeals for her husband to return. 

Then we follow Damayanti in her wanderings through 
the forest in quest of the missing Nala, and see how she 
joins a company of hermits, who predict that her sorrows 
will not last forever before they vanish, for they are spirits 
sent to comfort her. Next she joins a merchant caravan, 
which, while camping, is surprised by wild elephants, which 
trample the people to death and cause a panic. The mer- 
chants fancy this calamity has visited them because they 
showed compassion to Damayanti, whom they now deem a 
demon and wish to tear to pieces. She, however, has fled 
at the approach of the wild elephants, and again wanders 
alone through the forest, until she finally comes to a town, 
where, seeing her wan and distracted appearance, the people 
foHow her hooting. 

The queen-mother, looking over the battlements of her 
palace and seeing this poor waif, takes compassion upon her, 
and, after giving her refreshments, questions her in re- 
gard to her origin. Damayanti simply vouchsafes the in- 
formation that her husband has lost all through dicing, 


and volunteers to serve the rani, provided she is never 
expected to eat the food left by others or to wait upon 

Before she had been there very long, however, her 
father sends Brahmans in every direction to try and find 
his missing daughter and son-in-law, and some of these sus- 
pect the rani's maid is the lady they are seeking. When 
they inform the rani of this fact, she declares, if Dama- 
yanti is her niece, she can easily be recognized, as she was 
bom with a peculiar mole between her eyebrows. She, 
therefore, bids her handmaid wash off the ashes which defile 
her in token of grief, and thus discovers the birth-mole 
proving her identity. 

Damayanti now returns to her father and to her chil- 
dren, but doesn't cease to mourn the absence of her spouse. 
She, too, sends Brahmans in all directions, singing "Where 
is the one who, after stealing half of his wife's garment, 
abandoned her in the jungle?" Meantime Nala has saved 
from the fire a serpent, which by biting him has trans- 
formed him into a dwarf, bidding him at the same time 
enter the service of a neighboring rajah as charioteer, and 
promising that after a certain time the serpent poison will 
drive the demon Kali out of his system. Obeying these in- 
junctions, Nala becomes the charioteer of a neighboring 
rajah, and while with him hears a Brahman sing the song 
which Damayanti taught him. He answers it by another, 
excusing the husband for having forsaken his wife, and, 
when the Brahman reports this to Damayanti, she rightly 
concludes her Nala is at this rajah's court. 

She, therefore, sends back the Brahman with a message 
to the effect that she is about to hold a second Bride's 
Choice, and the rajah, anxious to secure her hand, asks his 
charioteer whether he can convey bim to the place in due 
time? Nala undertakes to drive his master five hundred 
miles in one day, and is so clever a charioteer that he 
actually performs the feat, even though he stops on the 
way to verify his master's knowledge of figures by counting 
the leaves and fruit on the branch of a tree. Finding the 


rajah has accurately guessed them at a glance, Nala begs 
him, in return for his services as charioteer, to teach him 
the science of numbers, so that when he dices again he can 
be sure to win. 

On arriving at the court of Damayanti's father, Nala 
is summoned into the presence of his wife, who, although 
she does not recognize him in his new form, insists he must 
be her spouse, for no one else can drive as he does or has 
the power which he displays over fire and water. At this 
moment the sway of the demon ends, and Nala, restored 
to his wonted form, rapturously embraces his wife and 

Even as thus the wind was speaJcing, — flowers fall showering all 

And the gods sweet music sounded — on the zephyr floating light. 

Then, thanks to his new skill in dicing, Nala recovers all 
he has lost, and is able to spend the rest of his life in peace 
and happiness with the faithful Damayanti. 


Once upon a time a king, mourning because he was child- 
less, spent many years fasting and praying in hopes that ofiE- 
spring would be granted him. One day the goddess of the 
sun rose out of his sacrificial fire to promise him a daughter, 
more beauteous than any maiden ever seen before. The king 
rejoiced, and, when this child was born, every one declared 
little Savitri the prettiest maiden ever seen. As she grew up 
she became more and more beautiful, until all the sur- 
rounding kings longed to marry her, but dared not pro- 
pose. Seeing this, her father conferred upon her the right 
to select her own spouse, and the princess began to travel 
from court to court inspecting all the marriageable princes. 
One day, in the course of these wanderings, she paused 
beneath a banyan tree, where a blind old hermit had taken 
up his abode. He was just telling the princess that he 
dwelt there with his wife and son, when a young man 
appeared, bringing wood for the sacrifice. This youth was 


Satyavan, his son, who was duly astonished to behold a. 
lovely princess. 

On returning home, Savitri informed her father her 
choice was made, for she had decided to marry the hermit's 
son ! This news appalled the king, because the prime min- 
ister assured him Satyavan — although son of a banished 
king — ^was doomed to die at the end of the year. 

Knowing the unenviable lot of a Hindu widow, the king 
implored Savitri to choose another mate, but the girl re- 
fused, insisting she would rather live one year with Satyavan 
than spend a long life with any one else ! 

But Savitri replied: 
" Once falls a heritage; once a maid yields 
Her maidenhood; once doth a father say, 
' Choose, I abide thy choice.' These three things done, 
Are done forever. Be my prince to live 
A year, or many years; be he so great 
As Narada hath said, or less than this; 
Once have I chosen him, and choose not twice: 
My heart resolved, my mouth hath spoken it. 
My hand shall execute; — ^this is my mind! " 

— Edwin Arnold. 

So the marriage took place, and, because the hermit and 
his son had vowed to remain in the jungle until reinstated 
in their realm, the princess dwelt in their humble hut, lay- 
ing aside her princely garments and wearing the rough 
clothes hermits affect. 

In spite of poverty, this little family dwelt happily be- 
neath the huge banyan tree, the princess rigidly keeping 
the secret that her husband had but a year to liVe. Time 
passed all too swiftly, however, and as the year drew toward 
an end the little wife grew strangely pale and still, fasted 
constantly, and spent most of her time praying that the 
doom of death might be averted. When the fatal day drew 
near, she was so weak and faint she could hardly stand; 
but, when Satyavan announced he was going out into the- 
forest to cut wood, she begged to accompany him, although 
he objected the way was far too rough and hard for her 
tender feet. By dint of coaxing, however, Savitri obtained 


his consent; so hand in hand she passed with her husband 
through the tropical woods. 

While Satyavan was felling a tree, he suddenly reeled 
and fell at her feet, fainting. In a moment Savitri was 
bending over him, holding his head in her lap and eagerly 
trying to recall life in his veins. While doing so, she sud- 
denly became aware of Yama, God of Death, with blood- 
red clothes, cruel eyes, and the long black noose, with which 
he snares the soul and draws it out of the body. In spite 
of Savitri 's pleading, he now drew out Satyavan 's soul and 
started off with his prize, leaving the youthful body pale 
and cold on the ground. 

With that the gloomy god fitted his noose, 

And forced forth from the prince the soul of him — 

Subtile, a thumb in length — ^which being reft, 

Breath stayed, blood stopped, the body's grace was gone. 

And all life's warmth to stony coldness turned. 

Then, binding it, the Silent Presence bore 

Satyavan's soul away toward the South. 

— Edwin Arnold. 

But the little wife, instead of staying with the corpse, 
followed Yama, imploring him not to bear off her husband 's 
soul ! Turning around, Yama sternly bade her go back, as 
no human mortal could tread the road he was following, and 
reminding her that it was her duty to perform her husband's 
funeral rites. She, however, insisting that wherever 
Satyavan's soul went she would go too, painfully followed 
the king of death, until in pity he promised to grant her 
anything she wished, save her husband's soul. Thereupon 
Savitri begged that her blind father-in-law might recover 
sight and kingdom, boons which Yama immediately granted, 
telling Savitri to go and inform her father-in-law so, for 
the way he had to tread was long and dark. 

Weak and weary as she was, Savitri nevertheless per- 
sisted in following Yama, until he again turned, declaring 
he would grant any boon, save her husband's life, to com- 
fort her. The little wife now begged her father might have 
princely sons, knowing he had long desired an heir. This 


favor, too, was granted, before Yama bade her go back to 
light and life ; but Savitri still insisted that was impossible, 
and that as long as she lived she must follow her beloved! 

Darkness now settled down on the forest, and although 
the road was rough and thorny Savitri stumbled on and 
on, following the sound of Yama's footsteps although she 
could no longer see him. Finally he turned into a gloomy 
cavern, but she plodded on, until she so excited his com- 
passion that he promised her one more boon, again stipulat- 
ing it should not be the soul he held in his hand. When 
Savitri begged for children, — sons of Satyavan, — ^Yama 
smiled and granted her prayer, thinking he would now 
surely be rid of her -at last. But Savitri followed him 
on into the depths of the cavern, although owls and bats 
made the place hideous with their cries. Hearing her 
footsteps still behind him, Yama tried to frighten her away, 
but she, grasping the hand which held her husband's soul, 
laid her tear-wet cheek against it, thereby so touching the 
god's heart that he exclaimed, "Ask anything thou wilt 
and it shall be thine." 

Noticing this time that he made no reservation, Savitri 
joyfully exclaimed she wished neither wealth nor power, 
but only her beloved spouse ! Conquered by such devotion, 
Death relinquished into her keeping Satyavan 's soul, and 
promised they should live happy together and have many 

After securing this inestimable boon, Savitri hastened 
out of the cave and back into the woods, where she found 
the lifeless corpse of her husband just where she had left 
it, and proceeded to woo it back to life. Before long warmth 
and consciousness returned to Satyavan, who went home 
with Savitri, with whom he lived happy ever after, for all 
the boons Yama had promised were duly granted. 

" Adieu, great G-od! " She took the soul. 
No bigger than the hiuuau thumb, 
And running swift, soon reached her goal, 
Where lay the body stark and dumb. 
She lifted it with eager hands 


And as before, when he expired. 

She placed the head upon the bands 

That bound her breast, which hope new fired. 

And which alternate rose and fell; 

Then placed his soul upon his heart. 

Whence like a bee it found its cell. 

And lo, he woke with sudden start! 

His breath came low at first, then deep. 

With an unquiet look he gazed, 

As one awakening from a sleep. 

Wholly bewildered and amazed. 

— Miss Tom Dutt. 



Epics as they are understood in Europe do not exist 
in either China or Japan, although orientals claim that 
name for poems which we would term idyls. 

A romantic tale, which passes as an epic in both coun- 
tries, was written in Chinese verse by Professor Inouye, 
and has been rendered in classical Japanese by Naobumi 
Ochiai. It is entitled "The Lay of the Pious Maiden 
Shirakiku," which is The White Aster. 

The first canto opens with an exquisite description of 
an autumn sunset and of the leaves falling from the trees 
at the foot of Mount Aso. Then we hear a temple bell ring- 
ing in a distant grove, and see a timid maiden steal out 
weeping from a hut in the extremity of the village to gaze 
anxiously in the direction of the volcano, for her father 
left her three days before to go hunting and has not re- 
turned. Poor little White Aster fears some harm may 
have befallen her sire, and, although she creeps back into 
the hut and kindles a fire to make tea, her heads turns at 
every sound in the hope that her father has come back at 
last. Stealing out once more only to see wild geese fly past 
and the rain-clouds drift across the heavens, White Aster 
shudders and feels impelled to start in quest of the missing 
man. She, therefore, dons a straw cloak and red bamboo 
hat, and, although night wiU soon fall, steals down the 
village street, across the marsh, and begins to climb the 

Here the steep path winds with a swift ascent 
Toward the summit: — the long grass that grew 
In tufts upon the slopes, shrivelled and dry, 
Iiay dead upon her path; — hushed was the voice 
Of the blithe chafers. — Only sable night 
Yawned threatening from the vale, 


While she is searching, the rain ceases and the clouds 
part, but no trace of her missing father does she find. Light 
has gone and darkness has already invaded the solitude, 
when White Aster descries a faint red gleam through the 
trees and hears the droning voice of a priest chanting his 
prayers. Going in the direction of light and sound, White 
Aster soon approaches a ruined temple, standing in the 
midst of a grove of cypress and camphor trees, amid 
bleached bones and mouldering graves overhung by weep- 

Her light footfall on the broken steps, falling upon 
the ear of the recluse, makes him fancy some demon is 
coming to tempt him, so seizing a light he thrusts it out of 
the door, tremblingly bidding the "fox ghost" begone. In 
the East foxes being spirits of evil and having the power to 
assume any form they wish, the priest naturally takes 
what seems a little maiden for a demon. But, when he 
catches a glimpse of White Aster's lovely innocent face 
and hears her touching explanation, he utterly changes his 
opinion, muttering that she must belong to some noble 
family, since her eyebrows are like twin "half -moons." 

"'Tis clear she comes of noble family: 

Her eyebrows are as twin half -moons: her hair 
Lies on her snowy temples, like a cloud: 
In charm of form she ranks with Sishih's self. 
That pearl of loveliness, the Chinese Helen." 

Taking his visitor gently by the hand, he leads her 
into the sanctuary, where he seats her at Buddha's feet, 
before inquiring who she is and what she is doing at night 
in the wilderness. White Aster timidly explains that, 
although bom in one of the southern islands and cradled 
in a rich home, the pleasant tenor of her life was suddenly 
interrupted by the outbreak of war. Her home sacked 
and destroyed, she and her mother barely escaped with 
their lives. Taking refuge near a ruined temple, they 
erected a booth to shelter them, where the girl who had 
always been lapped in luxury had to perform all kinds? of 


menial tasks. But even imder such circumstances her life 
proved pleasant compared to what she suffered when news 
came that her father had rebelled against the king, and 
that he and his adherents had been crushed in the war. No 
poppy-draught could enable the two poor women to forget 
such terrible tidings, and it is no wonder the poor mother 
pined away. 

As the stream 
Flows to the sea and nevermore returns, 
So ebbed and ebbed her life. I cannot tell 
What in those days I suffered. Nature's self 
Seemed to be mourning with me, for the breeze 
Of Autumn breathed its last, and as it died 
The vesper-bell from yonder village pealed 
A requiem o'er my mother. Thus she died. 
But dead yet lives — for, ever, face and form. 
She stands before my eyes; and in my ears 
I ever seem to hear her loving voice, 
Speaking as in the days when, strict and kind. 
She taught me household lore, — in all a mother. 

Having carefully tended her mother to the end, poor 
little White Aster lived alone, until one day her father 
suddenly appeared, having found at last a way to escape 
and rejoin them. He was, however, broken-hearted on 
learning of his wife's death, and, hoping to comfort him. 
White Aster paid him all manner of filial attentions. She 
could not, however, restore happiness or peace to the be- 
reaved man, who, besides mourning his wife, keenly re- 
gretted the absence of his son Akitoshi, whom he had driven 
from home in anger when the youth proved wild and over- 

During this artless narrative the recluse had exhibited 
signs of deep emotion, and, when White Aster mentioned 
the name of her brother, he clasped his hands over his face 
as if to conceal its expression. After listening to her tale 
in silence, he kindly bade White Aster tarry there until 
sunrise, assuring her it would not be safe for her to wander 
in the mountain by night. Little White Aster, therefore, 
slept at Buddha's feet, shivering with cold, for her gar- 


mentg were far too thin to protect her from the keen moun- 
tain air. As she slept she dreamt of her father, whose 
wraith appeared to her, explaining that a false step had 
hurled him down into a ravine, whence he has vainly been 
trying to escape for three days past ! 

The second canto opens with a description of a beau- 
tiful red dawn, and of the gradual awakening of the birds, 
whose songs finally rouse the little maiden, who again sets 
off on her quest. 

"Now the red dawn had tipped the mountain-tops. 
And birds, awaJcing, peered from out their nests. 
To greet the day with strains of matin joy; 
The while, the moon's pale sickle, silver white. 
Fading away, sunk in the western sky. 
Clear was the air and cloudless, save the mists 
That rolled in waves upon the mountain-tops. 
Or crept along the gullies. 

Skirting the trunks of mighty trees, stealing beneath 
whispering pines, White Aster threads different parts of 
the solitude, where she encounters deer and other timid 
game, seeking some trace of her father. She is so intent on 
this quest that she does not mark two dark forms which 
gradually creep nearer to her. These are robbers, who 
finally pounce upon White Aster and drag her into their 
rocky den, little heeding her tears or prayers; and, although 
the maiden cries for help, echo alone reiterates her des- 
perate calls. 

The brigands' lair is beneath an overhanging cliff, where 
they have erected a miserable booth, whose broken thatch 
has to be supplemented by the dense foliage of the ginkgo 
tree overshadowing it. In front of this hut runs a brawling 
stream, while the rocks all around are hung with heavy 
curtains of ivy, which add to the gloom and dampness of 
the place. 

Here the sun 
Ne'er visits with his parting rays at ewe, 
But all is gloom and silence save the cry 
Of some belated bird that wakes the night. 


Having brought their prisoner safely into this den, the 
robbers proceed to eat and drink, dispensing with ehop- 
stieks, so wolfish is their hunger. Meantime they roughly 
jeer at their captive, who sits helpless before them, tears 
streaming down her pale cheeks. Having satisfied their 
first imperious craving for food and drink, the brigands 
proceed to taunt their prisoner, until the captain, produc- 
ing a koto or harp, bids her with savage threats make 
music, as they Mke to be merry. 

" Sit you down, 
And let us hear your skill; for I do swear 
That, if you hesitate, then with this sword 
I'll cut you into bits and give your flesh 
To yonder noisy crows. Mark well my words." 

So proficient is our little maiden on this instrument, 
that her slender fingers draw from the cords such wonder- 
ful sounds that all living creatures are spellbound. Even 
the robbers remain quiet while it lasts, and are so entranced 
that they fail to hear the steps of a stranger, stealing near 
the hut armed with sword and spear. Seeing White Aster 
in the brigands' power, this stranger bursts open the door 
and pounces upon the robbers, several of whom he slays 
after a desperate conflict. One of their number, however, 
manages to escape, and it is only when the fight is over 
that White Aster — ^who has covered her face with her 
hands — discovers that her rescuer is the kind-hearted re- 
cluse. He now informs her that, deeming it unsafe for her 
to thread the wilderness alone, he had soon followed her, 
intending to tell her he is her long-lost brother! Then 
he explains how, after being banished from home, he en- 
tered the service of a learned man, with whom he began to 
study, and that, perceiving at last the wickedness of his 
ways, he made up his mind to reform. But, although he 
iimnediately hastened home to beg his parents' foi^iveness, 
he arrived there only to find his native town in ruins. Un- 
able to secure any information in regard to his kin, he 
then became a recluse, and it was only because shame and 


From a Japanese print 


emotion prevented his speaking that he had not immediately 
told White Aster who he was. 

Itfuch then my spirit fought against itself, 
Wishing to tell my name and welcome you, 
My long-lost sister: but false shame forbade 
And kept my mouth tight closed. 

His tale ended, the recluse and his small ^ster leave the 
rohbers' den, and steal hand in hand through the dusk, 
the forest's silence being broken only by the shrill cries 
of bands of monkeys. They are just about to emerge from 
this dark ravine, when the robber who managed to escape 
suddenly pounces upon the priest, determined to slay him 
so as to avenge his dead comrades. Another terrible fight 
ensues, which so frightens poor little White Aster that she 
runs off, losing her way in the darkness, and is not able to 
return to her brother's side in spite of all her efforts. 

The third canto tells how, after wandering around all 
night. White Aster finally emerges at dawn on the top of 
a cliff, at whose base nestles a tiny village, with one of the 
wonted shrines. Making her way down to this place, White 
Aster kneels in prayer, but her attitude is so weary that an 
old peasant, passing by, takes pity upon her and invites 
her to join his daughter in their little cottage. White 
Aster thus becomes an inmate of this rustic home, where 
she spends the next few years, her beauty increasing every 
day, until her fame spreads all over the land. Hearing of 
her unparalleled loveliness, the governor finally decides to 
marry her, although she is far beneath him in rank, and 
sends a matrimonial agent to bargain for her hand. The 
old rustic, awed by the prospect of so briUiant an alliance, 
consents without consulting White Aster, and he and the 
agent pick out in the calendar a propitious day for the 

When the agent has departed, the old man informs his 
guest how he has promised her hand in marriage, adding 
that she has no choice and must consent. But White Aster 
exclaims that her mother, on her way to the temple one 


day, heard a strange sound in the church-yard. There 
she discovered, amongst the flowers, a tiny abandoned girl, 
whom she adopted, giving her the name of the blossoms 
around her. 

" Once," she said, 
" Ere morn had scarce begun to dawn, I went 
To worship at the temple: as I passed 
Through the churchyard 'twixt rows of gravestones hoar, 
And blooming white chrysanthemums, I heard 
The piteous wailing of a little child. 
Which following, I found, amidst the flowers, 
A fair young child with crimson-mouthing lips 
And fresh soft cheek — a veritable gem. 
I took it as a gift that Buddha sent 
As guerdon of my faith, and brought it up 
As my own child, to be my husband's joy 
And mine: and, as I found thee couched 
Amidst white-blooming asters, I named thee 
White Aster in memorial of the day." 

The little maiden adds that her adopted mother made 
her promise never to marry any one save her so-caUed 
brother, and declares she is bound in honor to respect this 
maternal wish. The governor, anxious to secure this beau- 
tiful bride, meantime sends the agent hurrying back with a 
chest full of gifts, the acceptance of which wiU make the 
bargain binding. So the clever agent proceeds to exhibit 
tokens, which so dazzle the old peasant that he greedily 
accepts them all, while admiring neighbors gape at them 
in wonder. 

Poor little White Aster, perceiving it will be impossible 
to resist the pressure brought to bear upon her, steals out 
of the peasant's house at midnight, and, making her way 
across damp fields to the river, climbs up on the high bridge, 
whence she intends to fling herself into the rushing waters. 
She pauses, however, to utter a final prayer, and, closing 
her eyes, is about to spring when a hand grasps her and a 
glad voice exclaims she is safe! Turning around, "White 
Aster's wondering eyes rest upon the recluse, who ever 
since he escaped from the brigand's clutches has vainly 
been seeking her everywhere. He declares they shall never 


part again and tenderly leads her home, where she is over- 
joyed to find her father, who still mourns her absence. 

Thankful for the return of his child, the father relates 
how, having fallen into a ravine, — ^where he found water 
and berries in plenty, — ^he vainly tried to scale the rocks, 
to escape from its depths and return home. All his efforts 
having proved vain, he was almost ready to give up in 
despair, when a band of monkeys appeared at the top of 
the cliff and by grimaces and sounds showed him how 
to climb out by means of the hanging vines. Trusting to 
these weak supports, the father scaled the rocks, but on 
arriving at the summit was surprised to discover no trace of 
the monkeys who had taught him how to escape. He re- 
membered, however, that while hunting one day he had 
aimed at a mother monkey and her babe, but had not in- 
jured them because the poor mother had made such dis- 
tressing sounds of despair. He adds it was probably in 
reward for this act of mercy that the monkeys saved his 

"I spared her life; 
And she, in turn, seeing my sorry plight, 
Cried to me from the rocks, and showed the way 
To flee from certain death." 

Thus, this epic ends with a neat little moral, and with 
the comforting assurance that "White Aster, her father, and 
husband lived happy ever afterward. 


When Europeans first landed on this continent, they 
found it occupied by various tribes of Indians, speaking — 
it is estimated — some six hundred different languages or 
dialects. At first no systematic effort could be made to 
discover the religion or traditions of the native Americans, 
but little by little we have learned that they boasted a rich 
folk-lore, and that their nature-myths and hero-tales were 
recited by the fireside from generation to generation. Be- 
cause there were tribes in different degrees of evolution 
between savagery and the rudimentary stages of civiliza- 
tion, there are more or less rude myths and folk-tales in 
the samples with which we have thus become familiar. 

Among the more advanced tribes, Indian folk-lore bears 
the imprint of a weirdly poetical turn of mind, and ideas 
are often vividly and picturesquely expressed by nature 
similes. Some of this folk-lore is embodied in hymns, or 
what have also been termed nature-epics, which are now 
being carefully preserved for future study by -professional 
collectors of folk-lore. Aside from a few very interesting 
creation myths and stories of the Indian gods, there is a 
whole fund of nature legends of which we have a char- 
acteristic sample in Bayard Taylor's Mon-da-min, or 
Creation of the Maize, and also in the group of legends 
welded into a harmonious whole by Longfellow in the 
"American-Indian epic" Hiawatha. 

The early European settlers found so many material 
obstacles to overcome, that they had no leisure for the 
cultivation of literature. Aside from letters, diaries, and 
reports, therefore, no early colonial literature exists. But, 
with the founding of the first colleges in America, — ^Har- 
vard, Yale, William and Mary, the College of New Jeraey, 
and King's CoUege (now Columbia), — and with the in- 
troduction of the printing press, the American Jiterary 
era may be said to begin. 


The Puritans, being utterly devoid of aesthetic taste, 
considered all save religious poetry sinful in the extreme; 
so it was not until the middle of the seventeenth century 
that Fame could trumpet abroad the advent of "the Tenth 
Muse," or "the Morning Star of American Poetry," ia 
the person of Anne Bradstreet ! Among her poems — which 
no one ever reads nowadays — ^is "An Exact Epitome of 
the Three First Monarchies, viz., the Assyrian, Persian, 
and Grecian, and the Beginning of the Roman Common- 
wealth to the End of their Last King," a work which 
some authorities rank as the first American epie (1650). 
This was soon (1662) followed by Michael Wigglesworth's 
' ' Day of Doom, " or " Poetical Description of the Great and 
Last Judgement," wherein the author, giAdng free play to 
his imagination, crammed so many horrors that it afforded 
ghastly entertainment for hosts of young Puritans while it 
passed through its nine suece^ive editions in this country 
and two in England. Although devoid of real poetic merit, 
this work never failed to give perusers "the creeps," as the 
following sample will sufficiently prove: 

Then might jaa .hear them rend and tear 

The air with their outcries; 
The hideous noise of their sad voice 

Ascendant to the skies. 
They wring their hands, their caitiff hands. 

And gnash their teeth for terror; 
They cry, they roar, for anguish sore, 

And gnaw their tongue for horror. 
But get away without delay; 

Christ pities not your cry; 
Depart to hell, there may you yell 

And roar eternally. 

The Revolutionary epoch gave birth to sundry epie 
ballads — ^sueh as Francis Hopkinson's Battle of the Kegs 
and Major Andre's Cow Chase — and "to three epics, each 
of them almost as long as the Iliad, which no one now 
reads, and in which one vainly seeks a touch of nature or a 
bit of genuine poetry." This enormous mass of verse in- 
cludes Trumbull's burlesque epic, McFingal (1782), a work 


so popular in its day that collectors possess samples of no 
less than thirty pirated editions. Although favorably com- 
pared to Butler's Hudibras, and "one of the Revolutionary 
forces," this poem — a satire on the Tories — ^has left few 
traces in our language, aside from the familiar quotation: 

A thief ne'er felt the halter draw 
With good opinion of the law. 

The second epic of this period is Timothy D wight's 
"Conquest of Canaan" in eleven books, and the third Bar- 
low's "Columbiad." The latter interminable work was 
based on the poet's pompous Vision of Columbus, which 
roused great admiration when it appear (1807). While 
professing to relate the memorable voyage of Columbus 
in a grandly heroic strain, the Columbiad introduces all 
manner of mythical and fantastic personages and events. 
In spite of its writer's learning and imagination, this 
voluminous epic fell quite flat when published, and there 
are now very few persons who have accomplished the feat 
of reading it all the way through. Still, it contains pas- 
sages not without merit, as the following lines prove : 

Long on the deep the mists of morning lay. 
Then rose, revealing, as they rolled away, 
Half-circling hills, whose everlasting woods 
Sweep with their sable skirts the shadowy floods: 
And say, when all, to holy transport given. 
Embraced and wept as at the gates of Heaven, 
When one and all of us, repentant, ran, 
And, on our faces, blessed the wondrous man: 
Say, was I then deceived, or from the skies 
Burst on my ear seraphic harmonies? 
"Glory to God! " uimumbered voices sung: 
"Glory to God! " the vales and mountains rung. 
Voices that hailed Creation's primal morn. 
And to the shepherds sung a Saviour bom. 
Slowly, bare-headed, through the surf we bore 
The sacred cross, and, kneeling, kissed the shore. 
But what a scene was there? Nymphs of romance, 
Youths graceful as the Fawn, with eager glance, 
Spring from the glades, and down the alleys peep, 
Tien headlong rush, bounding from steep to steep. 
And clap their hands, exclaiming as they run, 
" Come and behold the Children of the Sun! " 


Not content with an epie apiece, Barlow and Trumbull, 
with severeil other "Hartford wits," joiued forces in com- 
posing the Anarchiad, which exercised considerable in- 
fluence on the politics of its tim.e. 

In 1819 appeared Washington Irving's Sketch-Book, 
which contains the two classics. Legend of the Sleepy Hol- 
low, and Rip Van Winkle, which are sometimes quoted as 
inimitable samples of local epics in prose. Cooper's 
Leather-stocking series of novels, including the Deerslayer, 
The Last of the Mohicans, The Pathfinder, The Pioneers, 
and The Prairie, are also often designated as "prose epics 
of the Indian as he was in Cooper's imagination," while 
some of his sea-stories, such as The Pirate, have been 
dubbed "epics of the sea." Bryant, first-bom of our 
famous group of nineteenth-cMitury American poets, made 
use of many of the Indian myths and legends iu his verse. 
But he rendered his greatest service to epic poetry by his 
translations of the Iliad and the Odyssey, accomplished 
when already eighty years of age. 

There are sundry famous American heroic odes or poems 
which contain epic lines, such as Halleck's Marco Bozzaris, 
Dana's Buccaneers, Lowell's Vision of Sir Launfal, and 
Biglow Papers, Whittier's Mogg Megone, Holmes's Grand- 
mother's Story of Bunker Hill Battle, Taylor's Amram's 
Wooing, Emerson's Concord Hymn, etc., etc. Then, too, 
some critics rank as prose epics Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, 
Poe's Pall of the House of Usher, Hale's Man Without a 
Country, Bret Harte's Luck of Roaring Camp, Helen Hunt 
Jackson's Ramona, etc., etc. 

It is, however, Longfellow, America's most popular 
poet, who has written the nearest approach to a real epic, 
and the poems most likely to live, in his Wreck of the 
Hesperus, Skeleton in Armor, Golden Legend, Hiawatha, 
Tales of a Wayside Inn, Courtship of Miles Standish, and 
Evangeline, besides translating Dante's grand epic The 
Divine Comedy. 

In Longfellow's Wreck of the Hesperus we have a 
miniature nautical epic, in the Skeleton in Armor our only 


epic relating to the Norse discovery, in the Grolden Legend, 
and in many of the Tales of a Wayside Inn, happy adap- 
tations of mediaeval epics or romances. 

Hiawatha, often termed "the Indian Edda," is written 
in the metre of the old Finnish Kalevala, and contains 
the essence of many Indian legends, together with charm- 
ing descriptions of the w;oods, the waters, and their furry, 
feathered, and finny denizens. Every one has followed 
entranced the career of Hiawatha from birth to childhood 
and boyhood, watched with awe his painful initiation to 
manhood and with tender sympathy his idyllic wooing of 
Minnehaha and their characteristic wedding festivities. 
Innumerable youthful hearts have swelled at his anguish 
during the Famine, and countless tears have silently 
dropped at the death of the sweet little Indian squaw. 
After connecting this Indian legend with the coming of 
the White Man from the Bast, the poet, knowing the Red 
man had to withdraw before the new-comer skilfully made 
use of a sun-myth, and allowed us to witness Hiawatha's 
departure, full of allegorical significance: 

Thus departed Hiawatha, 

Hiawatha the Beloved, 

In the glory of the sunset. 

In the purple mists of evening. 

To the regions of the home-wind. 

Of the Northwest-wind Keewaydin, 

To the Islands of the Blessed, 

To the kingdom of Fonemah, 

To the land of the Hereafter! 

The Courtship of Miles Standish brings us to the time 
of the Pilgrim's settlement in the New World and has in- 
spired many painters. 

The next poem, which some authorities consider Long- 
fellow's masterpiece, is connected with another historical 
event, of a later date, the conquest of Acadia by the Eng- 
lish. It is a matter of history that in 1755 the peaceful 
French farmers of Acadia, without adequate notice or 
proper regard for family ties, were hurried aboard waiting 


British vessels and arbitrarily deported to various ports, 
where they were turned adrift to join the scattered mem- 
bers of their families and earn their living as best they 
could. The outline of the story of Evangeline, and of her 
long, faithful search for her lover Gabriel, is too well known 
to need mention. There are besides few who cannot vividly 
recall the reunion of the long-parted lovers just as Gabriel's 
life is about to end. All through this hopeless search we 
are vouchsafed enchanting descriptions of places and 
people, and fascinating glimpses of scenery in various 
sections of our country, visdting in imagination the bayous 
of the South and the primeval forests, drifting along the 
great rivers, and revelling in the beauties of nature so 
exquisitely delineated for our pleasure. But, as is fitting 
in regard to the theme, an atmosphere of gentle melan- 
choly hovers over the wEole poem and holds the listener 
in thrall long as its musical verses fall upon the ear. 

Still stands the forest primeval; but under the shade of its branches 
Dwells another race, with other customs and language. 
Only along the shore of the mournful and misty Atlantic 
Linger a few Acadian peasants, whose fathers from exile 
Wandered back to their native land to die in its bosom. 

In the fisherman's cot the wheel and the loom are still busy; 
Maidens still wear their Norman caps and their kirtles of homespun. 
And by the evening fire repeat Evangeline's story, 
While from its rocky caverns the deep-voiced, neighboring ocean 
Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest. 


Abbasides, 39S 

Abdiel, 298, 299 

Abduction of Persephone, 64 

Abel, 112. 811 

Abeniaf, 116, 118 

Abenteuerbucb, 326 

Abraham, 311 

Abstinence, 263 

Abul Sasin Mansur, 398 

Abu Zaid, 398 

Acadia, 468 

Achan, 170 

Achates, 64-66 

Acheron, 141 

Achilleis, 63, 69 

Achilles, 17, 19, 21, 22, 25, 27, 28, 

30-40, 42, 46, 53, 61, 88, 143, 269 
Acrasia, 264, 265, 267-269 
Active Virtues, 354 
Asvaghosha, 415 
Adam, 142, 179, 186, 293-298, 302- 

SIS, 317, 322 
Adamastor, 134, 136 
Adonais, 221 
Adone, 139 
Adonis, 139 
Adrian V., Pope, 170 
Adventurous Band, 202, 204 
Adversary, 292, 395 
Aegistheus, 43 
Aeneas, 23, 25-27, 37, 64-74, 76-80, 

142, 146 
Aeneid, 63, 64-80, 83, 108 
Aeolus, 50, 61, 64 
Aeschere, 226 
Aesculapius, 258 
Aethiopia, 17 
Aetna, Mt.. 70 
Afrasiab, 404, 408, 412 
Africa, 64, 65, 116, 120, 126, 194 
African, 71 i 

Agamemnon, 18, 21, 26, 29-S3, 36, 42, 

63, 178 
Age of Gold, 400, 417, 429 

Agias of Troezene, 18 

Agnani, 170 

Agnello, 154 

Ahab, 316 

Ahasuerus, 394, 396 

Aino, 377, 378 

Aix, 87, 99 

Aix la Chapelle, 99 

Ajax, 18, 24, 28, 29, 31, 33-35, 63, 61 

Akitoslii, 458 

Aladine, 199, 200-202, 206, 213 

Alamanni, 139 

Alaric, 84 

Al Asmai, 398 

Alastor, 221 

Alba, 283 

Alba Longa, 64 

Alban, SO 

Albany, Duke of, 193 

Albion's England, 220 

Alborz, Mt., 402 

Al-Bukhari, 394 

Alcazar, 120 

Alcinous, 46, 47, 65 

Alcocer, 115 

Alda, 99 

Alethes, 201 

Alexander, 19, 63, 107, 148, 218, 219, 

233, 324. 361, 398 
Alexanderlied, 324 
Alexandra, 19 
Alexandreid, S3 
Alexandreis, 392 
Alexandria, 20 

Alfonso, 111-113, 115, 116, 119-124 
Alfonso v., 133 
Alfred, King, 222 
Aliscans, 81 
Allah, 200 
Allahabad, 436 

Allan a Dale, 247-249, 251, 254 
AUemaine, 100 
Almesbury, 242 
Alonzo, 132 

Alphonso the Brave, 132 
Alphonsos, 131 




Alpine fog, 169 

Alps, 233 

Alsatian Chronicle, 327 

Al-Tirmidhi, 391 

Alvar Fanez, 109, 113, 118, 119, 123 

Amadis de Gaule, 107, 127, 221 

Amalung, 339 

Amata, 79, 80 

Amazons, 18, 199, 269, 281, 108 

AmbrosiuB, Aturelianus, 230 

America, 161 

American Epics, 164—167 

American-Indian Epic, 161 

Americans, 161 

Amfortas, 319, 3S1, 353-36S 

Aminta, 107 

Amis et Amiles, 82, 83 

Amoret, 273-278 

Amram's Wooing, 167 

Amrita, 120 

Ananias, 151 

Anarchiad, 167 

Anastasius, Pope, 117 

Anchises, 23, 68, 69, 72, 71 

Ancient Mariner, 221 

Andr€, Major, 165 

Andreas, 218 

Andrew, 316 

Andromache, 27, 28, 38 

Andvari, 365 

Aneurin, 216 

Angel of Absolution, 16S 

Angel of Pity, 111 

Angelica, 190-191, 196 

Angels, 177, 187 

Anglo-Norman, 229, 316 

Anglo-Saxon, 222 

Anlaf, 217 

Anna, 70, 71 

Anna, St., 188 

Annales, 63 

Annunciation, 166 

Antaeus, 166 

Antenora, 157 

AntinouB, 11, 67, 69, 60 

Antioch, 83. 198. 207 

ApocaIn>se, 396 

Apollo, IS, 21, 25, 26, 28, 33, 31, 88, 

39, 60. 177 
Apollonius Ehodlus, 20 
Ajwllonius of Tyre, 218 
Apostle of India, 136 

Aquinas, St. Thomas of, 179, 180 

Aguitania, 321 

Arab, 397 

Arab Days, 397 

Arabia, 397, 401 

Arabian and Persian Epics, 397—411 

Arabian Conquest, 399 

Arabian Nights, 327, 398 

Arabians, 391 

Arabian Tales. 391 

Arabic, 393, 397, 398 

Arab Iliad, 398 

Arab Literature, 391 

Arachne, 167 

Aragon, 109, 125, 126 

Arany, 393 

Archangels, 177, 178, 187 

Archimago, 256, 259-261, 261, 267 

Arctinus of Miletus, 17, IS 

Arden, 190, 191 

Ardennes, 324 
Argalio, 190 

Argantes, 201, 201-206, 208 
Argenti, 115 
Argentina, 108 
Argonautica, 20, 63, 139 
Ariolant, 193 

Ariosto, 85, 138, 189, 192, 197, 220 
Aristotle, 218 
Arjasp, 113 

Arjuna, 135, 437, 139-444, 416 
Ark, 166 

Armida, 203, 204, 206. 207, 210-213 
Arminius, 323 
, Armorica, 216 
Amo, 168 
Arnold, Edwin, 462 
Arnold, Matthew, 221, 230, 408 
Arreho, 360 
Artegall, Sir, 269, 270, 275, 276, 279, 

Arthur, 82, 107, 137, 216, 218-220, 
229-235, 239, 241, 212, 261, 281- 
288, 285, 286, 326, 319, 351-353 
Arthur a Bland. 217 
Arthuriana, 230 

Arthurian Cycle, 216, 229-213, 316 
Arthurian Legend, 219, 221, 222, 210 
Arthurian Romances, 127 
Asbjomsen, 362 
Ascanius, 66 
Asia, 21, 75, 819 



Asiatic, 394 

Aso, at., 45r> 

Assyria, 319